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Students typically don’t register, but about 700 to 800 students come on weekends during the school year.
Campus ministries have been transferred to diocesan clergy elsewhere in the country, said Gary Chamberland C.S.C., vice chair of the executive board at the Catholic Campus Ministry Association. “It doesn’t happen a lot, because there’s not that many players to move around, but it’s not uncommon,” he said.
Tou, the pastor, said he was surprised by the news, but it wasn’t completely unexpected.
“In more recent times, bishops across the U.S. have been taking back their main campus ministries,” he said. “Dioceses today are now recognizing the importance of campus ministry, especially since the future of the church are our young adults and the dioceses are taking ownership of this important ministry.”
Parishioners digest the news
Two years ago, parishioners had to adjust when he joined the parish, Tou said.
“They, however, haven’t had a transition to diocesan leadership in over 98 years, so that can be scary since it is a major unknown,” Tou said.
Gail Studer, who has been a parishioner at St. Lawrence for 12 years, isn’t sure what this will mean for the church community.
“There’s some people that are just so upset that they may not come back,” Studer said. “So it’s hard to say. I will, because I don’t want to go anywhere else. Actually the priest that’s coming, I’m sure he’s a nice man. It’s just that he’s not the same as Father Ivan or the priests that have been here before.”
Shawn McLeod, 51, hopes the transition doesn’t change the dynamics of the church.
“If everybody looks at it with an open mind and has an open attitude about it, and as long as the new priests that are coming are still following along the same way of what people are used to, I think it’ll be fine,” she said. “But there’s always change.”
Lydia Coutré • 612-673-4654