Decree for Our Lady of the Assumption, Merrill

Walker

By the Grace of God and the Favor of the Apostolic See

Bishop of Sioux City

The establishment of the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, dates to the late 1880s, at which time the pastor of Saint Mary Parish in Hawarden, Iowa, first celebrated Sunday Mass there.

Shortly thereafter, funds for the construction of a church were solicited and received, and the present Assumption Church was built. In 1893, Assumption Parish in Merrill was formally and canonically erected, with the parish of Saint Joseph of Ellendale being attached as a mission.

With the erection of the Gehlen Catholic School system in 1952, Assumption Parish in Merrill became a corporate member, and from that time on has been supportive of Catholic education by sending its children and by providing financial support.

Now, however, due to a decline in the number of active parishioners and a similar decline in the number of active priests, it is no longer possible for the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption to continue. With parishioners having been informed by the present administrator, a decision was made to close Assumption Parish of Merrill, Iowa.

Thus, having consulted the members of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council, as required for the validity of such a decision, I do hereby decree that the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, is to be closed, effective Tuesday, June 30, 2015, with a closing Eucharistic liturgy to take place the preceding Sunday, June 28, 2015.

I further decree that the former parishioners of the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, are to register – as households and according to their own free choice – in neighboring parishes, principally – though not exclusively – at All Saints Parish in Le Mars, Iowa or Saint Joseph Parish of Ellendale, rural Merrill, Iowa.

I further decree that the real property – land and buildings – of the former Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, shall become the property of All Saints Parish in Le Mars, Iowa, to be maintained, administered or alienated (sold) in accordance with civil and canon law. I similarly decree that the geographical territory which comprised the former Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, is henceforth to be incorporated into the geographical territory of All Saints Parish in Le Mars, Iowa.

I further decree that any monetary funds of the former Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, which have been designated as “restricted funds,” shall be separately maintained as a part of the patrimony of All Saints Parish in Le Mars, Iowa, to be used solely for those purposes for which they were restricted.

I further decree that those monetary funds of the former Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, which were designated as “unrestricted funds,” shall follow each household of former parishioners, on a pro-rated basis, to the parishes to which they shall subsequently register. I further decree that any such “unrestricted” funds, which may remain unallocated as a result of the failure of any household belonging to the former Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, to register elsewhere shall automatically become part of the patrimony of All Saints Parish in Le Mars, Iowa, after forty-five (45) continuous days from the date of this decree.

I further decree that the parishioners of the former Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, shall have thirty (30) continuous days from the date of publication of this decree in The Catholic Globe, official newspaper of the Diocese of Sioux City, to make known – in writing and by regular mail – their preference of the parish at which they intend to register, and that they shall do so through correspondence with the pastor of the parish to which they wish to belong.

I further decree that, according to the requirements of canon law, those who are directly and principally affected by this decree, that is, those adults who were registered as parishioners of the former Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Merrill, Iowa, shall have the right of recourse against this decree and may lodge an appeal against this decree within thirty (30) continuous day of its publication in The Catholic Globe, official newspaper of the Diocese of Sioux City.

Given in the Central Catholic Offices of the Diocese of Sioux City on this 14th day of May, 2015, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City

Deacon David Lopez, Ph.D., Chancellor

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