BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – It’s never easy to close a parish, but according to Monsignor Daniel Jurek, they knew this day would eventually come.
Next month, five small parishes in the Belleville Catholic Diocese will merge with neighboring congregations.
Those parishes set to close their doors are: Immaculate Conception in Bridgeport, St. Catherine of Alexandria in Grand Chain, St. Leo in MoDoc, St. Francis Xavier in St. Francisville and St. Mary in Mound City.
Up until now, each of the five had already been sharing a pastor with a nearby congregation.
Monsignor Jurek, who is the pastor at St. Leo, said membership had fallen to 26 families and they knew they were just too small to effectively provide the essentials of a strong parish, like “worship, faith formation and outreach.”
“It’s hard but they realized that they are going to be able to do more opportunities to enrich their faith and live out their faith,” he said.
St. Leo will merge with St. Joseph Parish in Pairie Du Rocher where Jurek is also the pastor.