By Mike Perleberg and Matt Popovich
St. Martin Church in Yorkville is among four Dearborn County Catholic churches ordered to merge by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Parishioners at each of the churches are being asked to vote on a name for the new unified church.
(Dearborn County, Ind.) - Parishioners at four Catholic churches in Dearborn County are being asked to decide a new church name.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has ordered the merger of churches St. Paul of New Alsace, St. Joseph of St. Leon, St. Martin of Yorkville, and St. John the Baptist of Dover. The merger was part of a larger decree spanning the Batesville Deanery announced by Archbishop Joseph Tobin in June.
The need for the mergers and closures, the archdiocese argued, was due to a lack of priests, not parishioners. The total number of priests working for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is around 140 with 147 parishes to serve.
“I understand the disappointment and sadness that people are experiencing,” Archbishop Tobin said said at the time. “I regret the pain these decisions have caused, but I still believe that these decisions will strengthen our archdiocese.”
Under the original decree, those four churches were ordered to reduce to one parish by the start of Advent this year, December 1, then reduce to a single worship site by Advent 2015. Pleas from the parishes persuaded Tobin to extend the deadline for reducing to a single church building until Advent 2017.
The parishes are now focusing on beginning that new church. One of the first orders of business is deciding on a name. Dozens of suggestions were sent to Archbishop Tobin, who pre-approved three possible names, according to the St. Paul Church bulletin for October 6.
They are “Church of the Resurrection”; “Blessed John Paul II”; and “All Saints”
Each eligible name has a reason behind it, as explained in the bulletin. Church of the Resurrection encapsulates the four parishes dying and being resurrected as one.
The Blessed John Paul II Church name tips the hat to the names of two of the four closing Dearborn County churches. Also, Pope John Paul II was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century and is the newest saint.
The name All Saints Church could also be fitting because it would encompass each of the saints whose names are attached to the closing churches and shows unification.
Voting among the members of the four parishes began during the masses of October 5 and 6. The voting will continue among parishioners age 18 and older this Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13. Each member is allowed one vote.
There remains an outside chance that the four churches will not have to merge. Parishioners at St. Martin Church in Yorkville are planning to appeal the Archbishop’s decree to the Vatican.
You can read more on the Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph Tobin’s June decree at http://www.eaglecountryonline.com/news.php?nID=5723.