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Playing by the rules?

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:20 p.m. CDT

St. Thomas More Church in Dalzell is to be merged with Holy Trinity Church in Cherry. The Diocese has made this decision as of July 1, 2014. Right now, we are serviced by Father Pat Fixsen who is the pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Cherry.

Father Pat takes care of three churches — Arlington, Dalzell and Cherry and does a good job giving Dalzell and Arlington masses over the weekend, along with holding mass at Cherry too.

I informed Father Pat we at Dalzell will work very hard to continue having a mass during the week and on Saturday, which gives us an opportunity to fulfill our religious duties and to impress upon the Bishop we want to continue beyond — July 1, 2014, and not be merged with Holy Trinity of Cherry.

Not too long ago on the CBS World News, Scott Pelly told of one priest in Milwaukee, Wis., who now handles seven churches. Milwaukee is a big city, and the churches are close to each other. The Bishop may want us to merge with Cherry, but we won’t go to mass at Cherry and will go to mass at St. Bede or St. Joseph’s in Peru, which is a lot closer to travel.

I see no reason  to merge with Holy Trinity Church, and the people in town are satisfied with what has been working. Then why do they want to merge our church with Holy Trinity Church on July 1, 2014? What will happen to St. Thomas More church on July 1, 2014; will it be sold?

Also I read where the Spring Valley churches will be merged into a church (really St. Anthony’s) called The Nativity of Our Lord Church. What is wrong with the Very Rev. Robert Spilman handling all the masses in the other churches in Spring Valley? If one priest in Milwaukee,Wis., services seven churches, and Father Pat handles three churches now, he should be able to handle the three churches in Spring Valley.

What will happen to the other churches in Spring Valley; will they be sold or torn down like St. Benedict’s in Ladd? In Allentown, Pa., the Vatican overturned a Bishop’s decision to close eight churches. And in Springfield, Mass., the Vatican rejected the Diocese to convert church buildings from holy to secular use.

All this should give us hope to those who have challenged the Diocese of Peoria’s order to close and sell church property. Parishioners who have spent their lifetime worshiping and servicing their churches just to keep them open are being denied input into the reason for closure.

I wonder if the Bishop of Peoria reads about what has been done in  Allentown, Pa., and Springfield, Mass., and comments people have made in other newspapers? Or is the Diocese of Peoria immune to Vatican decisions that affect other communities, and  do they overrule the decisions of the Vatican and play by their own rules?

Carlo Olivero

Dalzell

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