Two Twin Cities area Catholic parishes who appealed their mergers with other congregations as part of the archdiocese's reorganization plan have been denied by the Vatican.
St. Austin’s Church in Minneapolis merger with St. Bridget will move forward, according to the church pastor the Rev. George Kallumkalkudy, who informed the congregation about the Vatican’s decision on Sunday.
Twin Cities archdiocese officials say the congregation of St. John’s Church in St. Paul, which is set to merge with St. Pascal Baylon, was also recently notified their appeal was rejected by the Vatican.
At least two other parishes also appealed their mergers with other parishes to the Vatican, but archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath could not immediately say Wednesday whether they had received word yet on the outcome of their appeals.
The archdiocese announced nearly a year ago that it planned to reorganize to deal with tight budgets, changing demographics and a projected priest shortage. As part of the reorganization plan, 21 parishes are slated to fold into 14 “receiving” parishes by 2013.
Of the 21, four parishes appealed to the Vatican. Those appealing have said they don’t want to lose their church parishes by merging with other congregations and don’t see the need for the mergers.