Six Roman Catholic parishes in Northwest Iowa will be combined into one, parishioners learned during Masses this weekend.The following six churches will be combined: Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Merrill, St. James Parish in Le Mars, and the St. Joseph parishes in Ellendale, Le Mars, Neptune and Struble.
The Rev. James Tigges, pastor at St. James, said that in general, the farthest parishioners will have to travel to get to the new church is about 15 miles."It's sad because any closing is like a death in the family, and we are a church family," he said. "There's some grief that has to be faced and has to be dealt with, but it's exciting that we can build a new faith and a stronger faith."
This weekend priests in the Le Mars Area Catholic Cluster reportedly read a letter to parishioners from Bishop R. Walker Nickless. The letter announced the formation of one new parish corporation as something that evolved from the long-range strategic plan developed in October 2004 by representatives of the six churches.
Basically, the decision to combine parishes was made after looking at the shortage of priests in the world and in the Diocese of Sioux City, Tigges reported.
We have to realize that the church is people," he said. "It's not a building or a site. It's really the people." Sioux City Journal