Four Parishes undergo Canonical Change in Status through Joining Our Neighbors

By Colleen Rowan WEST VIRGINIA—The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has announced canonical change in status to four parishes located within the Wheeling, Beckley and Clarksburg vicariates in the pastoral planning process titled Joining our Neighbors. Good Shepherd Parish, Glenville, will be merged into the territory of St. Boniface Parish, Camden, effective at midnight, May 20, 2018, with the former Good Shepherd Parish, Glenville, becoming a mission of St. Boniface Parish, Camden.  St. Joseph Parish, St. Joseph Settlement/Proctor, will be merged into the territory of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, New Martinsville, effective at midnight, May 20, 2018, with the former St. Joseph Parish, St. Joseph Settlement/Proctor, becoming a mission of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, New Martinsville. St. Patrick Parish, Coalton, will be merged into the territory of St. Brendan Parish, Elkins, effective at midnight, May 20, 2018, with the former St. Patrick Parish, Coalton, becoming a mission of St. Brendan Parish, Elkins. Sacred Heart Parish, Powhatan, will be merged into the territory of St. Peter Parish, Welch, effective at midnight, June 5, 2018, with the former Sacred Heart Parish, Powhatan, becoming a mission of St. Peter Parish, Welch. In phase I of the plan, which began last summer, Diocesan Chancellor Chad Carter said that Joining Our Neighbors is the diocese’s response to the pastoral challenges in providing for the needs of all parishes, missions and faith communities throughout the state. The process for the plan, Carter said, began in March and April 2015 when he along with Msgr. Frederick P. Annie, V.G., and Vincent de Paul Schmidt, former superintendent of diocesan Catholic schools, travelled around the diocese to hold meetings where they shared facts and figures. A year later, more intensive internal review and study of the data was accomplished and, from October to December 2016, a time of study and reflection was held in the parishes—sharing history, data and information. From January through April 2017, listening sessions were held in the parishes and missions being studied. Diocesan officials sited the main pastoral and demographic challenges as overall population decrease in the southern and northern regions, migration to the north-central and eastern parts of the state, and the rapidly declining numbers of men and women religious serving in the diocese. It was reported that the demographic trends have resulted in almost half of the diocese’s active priests serving approximately 9 percent of the Mass-going population. It was reported last summer that in 51 of the 124 parishes and missions, 75 or fewer individuals attend the weekly Sunday Masses. As the plan was initiated, focus was placed upon small faith communities, specifically those with 75 or fewer persons participating in the weekly Sunday Masses. Listening sessions were then conducted in these parishes and missions and, following these meetings, recommendations were formulated and presented to the diocese’s vicars forane, the Presbyteral Council and the Diocesan Consultors.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail