Come July, the Jesuit religious order will end its affiliation with a Mankato parish it has served for 134 years.
The changeover at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church is being prompted by Jesuit reorganizations wrought by aging clergy and declines in their numbers.
“The handwriting was on the wall,” said the Rev. Karl Voelker, who came to the Mankato parish in 1996 and will be leaving along with fellow priests Ted Hottinger and Don Rauscher.
Voelker, 66, will take a six-month sabbatical starting in July prior to reassignment. Hottinger and Rauscher, both in their mid-70s, will retire.
SS. Peter & Paul is part of the Jesuits’ Wisconsin Province, which also is withdrawing priests from a St. Paul parish and one in Wisconsin. Mankato Free Press
The St Paul Parish that the Jesuits are leaving is probably Immaculate Heart of Mary. Rumor has it that Bishop Bernard Harrington of Winona, in which Mankato is located, has known about the Jesuits' leaving for some time and has pulled strings in Rome to get a replacement religious order to replace them. Keep your ears peeled.
There still will be a small Jesuit presence in Minnesota. Two priests are assigned to the Cristo Rey High School in Minneapolis, they have a Novitiate in St Paul and their retreat house in Lake Elmo.