Saturday, March 14, 2009
Beacon Journal religion reporter Colette M. Jenkins and a newpspaper photographer attended Mass and a party at Sacred Heart Church and a couple of hours later her story below was posted on Ohio.com. Click on the headline to see a photo accompanying the story.
By COLETTE M. JENKINS
Beacon Journal Religion Writer
Six Roman Catholic churches in Summit County will close by June 2010.
The city of Akron is taking the biggest hit, with the closing of five churches — Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, St. Hedwig and Christ the King. Barberton will lose one, SS. Cyril & Methodius.
Of the six churches, Sacred Heart, St. Hedwig and SS. Cyril & Methodius were ordered to close.
St. Mary will merge with St. Bernard at the St. Bernard site, 44 University St.
St. John will merge with Annunciation at the Annunciation site, 57 Broad St..
And Christ the King will merge with St. Martha at the St. Martha site, 300 E. Tallmadge.
The schools at St. Mary and Christ the King will remain open at this time.
The announcement of the church closings and mergers are being made this weekend during Masses at the 224 parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Pastors and administrators received letters today with the directives from Bishop Richard G. Lennon.
Lennon's decisions come more than a year after parishes were mandated to form regional cluster teams to examine ministries, finances and facilities as part of the Vibrant Parish Life initiative.
The goal of the plan is to strengthen the Catholic church's presence and pastoral care in response to declining enrollment, population shifts from the city to the suburbs and a worsening clergy shortage.
Lennon has said that a third of the 69 clusters will be downsized. The diocese includes Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne counties.