Not all agree in parish review
By Frank Flegel
REGINA — While some progress has been made in the Regina Archdiocese Parish Review, an Aug. 22 evening meeting among churches in south Regina showed issues remain to be resolved. The meeting was held in Ste. Jean Baptiste, the city’s only Francophone parish.
Archbishop Daniel Bohan has approved a proposal to begin the procedure to integrate St. Charles, Canadian Martyrs and Good Samaritan parishes under a single church with a new name, but comments at the Aug. 22 meeting indicated none there were prepared to take that step. One parishioner noted the three north Regina churches have a history of 10 years co-operative administration, a history not shared in the south as each church believes it remains viable with an active parish life.
The discussion was active, with many questioning the need for the review and others noting the shortage of priests, the number of buildings and the cost of maintaining them.
“We’re burning out our priests,” one commentator noted.
“Canon law requires that the pastor has to attend parish council and committee meetings and priests responsible for several parishes hardly have time to do anything else,” said another.
Ste. Jean Baptiste pastor Rev. J.B. Okai who, along with Rev. John Weckend, attended the meeting, said no one parish can determine to stay open or not. “We want to hear your voices, we want to have consensus.”
A suggestion was made to hire a professional consultant, but committee chair Garret Oledzki said that was done some time ago and there was no need to do it again.
Another asked if there was even consensus that 20 parishes in Regina were too much. Oledzki referred to a handout, prepared by a volunteer with survey and analysis experience for the federal government, that stated a large majority of questionnaires returned from parishes supported merger/reduction of the number of parishes in the city. The survey returns also expressed financial concerns and the cost of required renovations/repairs and loss of revenue due to declining church attendance. Other survey results showed concern about the future of Catholic schools adjacent to many churches and others worried how seniors and others without transportation would be affected.
Oledzki emphasized, as he has at every meeting, that despite rumours, no decision has been made to integrate, merge, close or anything else regarding the south Regina churches. “We want to make sure that everyone has a chance to have their say and try and reach consensus.”
if consensus cannot be reached the committee will make its own recommendations
to the archbishop, who has the final authority.