Parish Review Committee meets
By Frank Flegel
REGINA — The four south Regina Roman Catholic Churches may form sort of a regional parish council in order to explore ways they can work together to advance programs and services with less duplication. But it was clear from a Sept. 12 meeting of the group, the third such meeting organized by the Parish Review Committee, that none are offering to see their parish closed down.
The Archdiocesan Parish Review Committee was established early in 2012 to review both the secular and spiritual viability of the city’s 20 parishes. It is one of the factions of the Pastoral Plan to revitalize the archdiocesan church which, like most other faith communities, has many parishes with declining populations and resources required to maintain them. The committee is expected to compile a report and submit recommendations to the archbishop sometime later this year. Committee chair Rev. John Weckend told the group he expects the process should be wrapped up sometime within the next six months.
Archdiocesan Property Co-ordinator Gary Oledzki opened the meeting, urging the group to “come out of their shoes and look at the big picture.” He emphasized again that despite rumours, no decisions have been made to close any church. Weckend told the group 80 per cent of Regina churches offer a Saturday 5:00 p.m. mass. “When we are spread so thin, what kind of quality are we offering? Can we begin to work together and co-operate on some programs?”
Several pointed questions were directed both at Oledzki and Weckend regarding the purpose of the committee and complaining that their questions were not being answered. One complained the criteria for what constitutes viability is unknown. Oledzki pointed to a handout from the pastoral plan which lays out what should be looked at. It includes both financial viability and spiritual life of the parish, including programs and participation in parish life. Weckend assured the meeting that the committee has not been told that a certain number of Regina parishes must be closed.
Each Regina parish completed a survey sent by the archdiocese which included questions about programs, participation and finances. They will form part of the decision process. The parish meetings were to obtain input from individuals.
Oledzki said he would not convene any more similar meetings of the four south Regina churches but would contact each to explore the formation of a group to simply look at how they may co-operate and share resources.