Parish reviews completed
By Frank Flegel
REGINA — Regina’s 20 Roman Catholic parishes have all been reviewed and neighbourhood cluster meetings have begun. The neighbourhood meetings involve churches that are in close proximity and are an effort to achieve consensus on what should be done to ensure parish life is viable.
The review began March 17 and was completed by the end of June and the neighbourhood meetings began almost immediately. The original intent was to complete all meetings before the end of summer and present recommendations to the full review committee and to the archbishop sometime in the fall. But Garry Oledzki, archdiocesan property co-ordinator, said parishes wanted the process to move along.
“They were telling us not to keep them hanging but to complete the process and make the recommendations as soon as possible,” Oledzki said. “We are listening to our parishioners and families. Our committee will be taking the thoughts and ideas given to us to determine what is best.”
The review is part of the Pastoral Plan to renew and invigorate parish life by ensuring that parishes are viable, with adequate numbers of parishioners and resources. Declining numbers in both city and rural parishes has resulted in the closure of several parishes with parishioners moving to other parishes.
Rev. John Weckend, archdiocesan director of organization and development, told one of the first meetings that the church can’t keep doing the same thing. He used Swift Current as an example, where once there were two churches, both closed and now there is a new church in a new building. That happened in 2009 when Christ the Redeemer Parish, located in a completely renovated former General Motors dealership, was blessed by Archbishop Daniel Bohan. Weckend more recently said clergy in Regina is “spread rather thin” to look after the 20 parishes with about 13,000 households.
Oledzki continues to emphasize that no decisions have been made and none will be until after the recommendations are passed through the committee and to the archbishop, who has the final say. Oledzki said one neighbourhood meeting with three parishes has resulted in that group reaching a consensus that they should merge into a single, new parish. The committee has a letter on file from Archbishop Bohan encouraging it to continue with that process.
A similar review is expected to take place among rural parishes. The Regina Archdiocese has about 120,000 Catholics in about 150 parishes.