The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis will close four of the 14 churches in its Terre Haute Deanery over the next 15 months and move resources elsewhere under a restructuring plan announced Thursday.
The archdiocese said Archbishop Daniel Buechlein had approved the plan that calls for the closings.”The decision to close a parish is agonizing,” Buechlein said in a news release. “In asking the pastoral leaders and the people of the Terre Haute Deanery to look at their resources and needs I was asking them to choose what was best for all of the people of the deanery over any individual parish.”
Each of the four affected parishes serve 319 families, or less than 10 percent of the deanery’s 4,000 households across five counties.
A report on a deanery strategic plan that includes the closings said the closings are necessary because the number of full-time priests serving the deanery is expected to fall to five by next year.
During two years of planning for the strategic plan, parishioners, parish staff and lay leaders said the deanery had too many parishes for the number of practicing Catholics. They also said too much money was being spent to support Masses at multiple church sites despite low attendance rates and to repair, renovate and maintain a large number of church buildings when many were significantly underused.
“Our goal is to have a stronger and more mission-effective Church in west central Indiana and these closings are necessary to best use the Church’s resources to achieve even more vibrant ministries,” Buechlein said. [more]