Editor’s note: Carroll Kuemper High School seniors in “Conflict, Justice and Literature,” a college English class taught by Mary Ann Spicer, spent a week reviewing the pros and cons dealing with the issue of Ministry 2025’s strategic planning as part of a rhetoric assignment. Their collaborative insights are based on the articles in the Jan. 12 edition.
The closing of parishes throughout the Sioux City diocese has brought about conflicting feelings in the church. This involves both the individuals whose churches are closing, as well as those who will be working to welcome new members into their parish. From the fear of losing a community to the fear of overcrowding parishes, we will all need to work together in order to find the silver lining of this issue.
There are ways to connect parishioners of every community together. Through bonding retreats and becoming involved in ministries, we will feel like a community once again. Parishioners may feel disenfranchised, until they bond with people from other churches they are now becoming a part of. This can be done through retreats hosted by the church that is preparing to welcome new members.
Becoming part of the ministries is one other way parishioners can begin to form new relationships with one another. By participating more fully in Masses through being a lector, gift bearer, choir member or Eucharistic minister, new members will begin to feel more welcome and the current members of the combining churches will start welcome the new members with open arms.
Jadie Knobbe, Carroll Holy Spirit; Susie Pottebaum, Holy Spirit; Jordan Wittrock, Holy Spirit; Kate Dickman, Holy Spirit; Courtney Klocke, Willey St. Mary and Madie Eischeid, Halbur St. Augustine.
The closing of area churches is a tragic reality for many families in our diocese. Carroll County is an especially hard hit area by the Ministry 2025 plan, because many of the Catholic population in the county have close ties with their family parishes.
Currently, Carroll has 14 active parishes, but under the new plan, six will convert to oratory status and the remaining eight will become worship sites under one parish. The parishes that are being converted into worship centers would be able to hold prayer services and a parish leader could organize community activities to benefit and support the parish.
While the details of this plan appear shocking and rattling, they are necessary. Change often seems uncomfortable and hard, but it does no good to sit around and complain.
One way to handle this misfortune is to do your best to find the positives. The Ministry 2025 plan will bring forth a large group of believers from many areas to Mass every Sunday. Through this new plan, parishioners will be able to meet more people who share in their beliefs, and also come closer to God together.
Kobe Eischeid, St. Augustine; Ben Grote, Carroll St. Lawrence; Gage Gunnerson, Holy Spirit; Chase Netusil, Methodist; Lucas Lampe, Holy Spirit and Matt Dentlinger, Arcadia St. John.
A call to obey
“One time, I talked to a priest when I had a disagreement with my boss. After I talked to the priest about my feelings on the decision, he said to me, ‘You are called to obey.’ That really hit me and now I apply that advice to this situation. We cannot keep doing what we have always done and expect change.”
These words are an insight from our teacher, Martha Stout. Our group discussed the Ministry 2025 Plan and went in-depth picking apart all the components of this situation.
The issue at hand is the fact that there are not enough priests in the diocese. There are not enough because people do not know how to listen for their vocation.
People are upset due to the closing of their parishes. But, if there are not enough priests to provide the service, how can the community have Mass?
Ministry 2025 affects a large amount of people throughout the diocese. The diocese has reviewed all avenues to the issue. We are convinced that change needs to start with Catholic schools and with families to teach children the importance of vocation. – Kiana Brincks, Holy Spirit; Emily DeBolt, Holy Spirit; Marta Pugh, Sac City St. Mary; Hanna Sibbel, St. Augustine and Margaret Kenkel, Holy Spirit.
The concept of change
Many Catholics have been hearing about Ministry 2025 for months. The pending problem needs help, but naturally, the concept of change brings about worry in many people. The Catholic Church is a place where many people feel welcome because of their history with their local parish, and the thought of their local parish closing is upsetting to most. Many people feel hurt and confused about the whole ordeal, and the current explanations and reasons we have been given make it hard to accept the change.
When the article [or idea] came out, many wondered who made the decision on this. Just like a family makes decisions together, we feel it is important to make decisions together so everybody has a good understanding of the topic at hand. Unfortunately, there was confusion dealing with the article and the maps in the Jan. 12 edition of The Catholic Globe.
If we want to make parishioners feel better about the concept, it would be wise to have familiar faces talking about the change in their particular area. If we want parishioners to be involved, it would be wise to ask for opinions and be more open to even the youngest parishioners’ thoughts. – Reed Rawlings, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Emma Schmitz, Our Lady of Mount Carmel; Maggie Steinkamp, Wall Lake St. Joseph; Taylor Thomsen, Holy Spirit; Martha Van Erdewyk, Holy Spirit and Jessica Venner, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
A stronger church
According to the Ministry 2025 plan, many parishes of the Sioux City Diocese will be repurposed due to the declining attendance in Mass and low number of priests available, with 31 active priests by 2025. In Carroll County alone 14 parishes will be divided into becoming worship sites or go into oratory status.
These steps ultimately lead to this community uniting into one parish. Worship sites will only be able to have weekend Masses, while oratory status parishes will be open for particular religious ceremonies. Many parishioners have expressed their distaste with these unfortunate yet necessary changes.
In an attempt to please these unhappy Catholics, ideas have been devised to make them feel more comfortable with the upcoming changes. We believe that having a priest consecrate the Eucharist before a Mass, and then a deacon could come to the local parish and offer Mass for the particular community using the already-consecrated host, should receive more consideration. It would ease burdens on priests and allow more parishes to remain open.
The Ministry 2025 plan will not be all bad. The plan will produce the benefit of increasing congregation size to create a stronger community and a stronger church overall.
Rease Snyder, Breda St. Bernard; Ryan Feauto, St. Lawrence; Grant Sanders, St. Lawrence; Von Kraus, Holy Spirit and Tim Sibbel, St Augustine.