Catholic parishes to merge in Spencer County

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SPENCER COUNTY – The Rev. Charles C. Thompson, bishop of the Diocese of Evansville, announced today the establishment of new parishes over the next three years as the result of mergers that involve 24 existing parishes. The 10 mergers will take effect between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2016.

Two of the mergers involve Spencer County parishes.

The bishop also announced that none of the 24 churches involved in the parish mergers are closing as a result of these moves, which represent the first phase of a strategic plan to ensure what he called “the long-term spiritual health of the diocese’s 12-county Catholic community.”

“More than five years ago, Bishop Emeritus Gerald A. Gettelfinger initiated the strategic plan,” Thompson said. “We announce today the initial results of ongoing efforts that will focus on keeping the Diocese of Evansville a lively, faith-filled community.”

Details were to be announced at a 9 a.m. press conference Friday and are in this week’s issue of The Message, the diocese’s newspaper.

The diocese announced the future mergers of the following parishes:

• St. John Chrysostom Church in New Boston will merge with St. Martin Church in Chrisney. The new parish will retain the St. Martin name once the merger is effective July 1, 2014.

• St. Joseph Church in Dale will see two nearby parishes merged into that parish. Mary, Help of Christians Church in Mariah Hill and St. Nicholas Church in Santa Claus will merge with St. Joseph. That merger will be fully effective July 1, 2015 with some parts of the merger beginning in July 2014.

According to the diocese, when each merger becomes effective, the assets and liabilities of the merging parishes all become part of the new parish. Pastors of the merged parishes will make decisions on how often Mass will be celebrated in the churches.