Parish mergers take effect Saturday

By Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

Members of several area Catholic churches will see changes over the next few weeks, as four area parishes - St. John's of Union Hill, St. Benedict, St. Scholastica of Heidelberg, and St. Joseph's of Lexington, will merge with St. Wenceslaus Church in New Prague, effective January 1.

The Union Hill and Heidelberg churches will remain open, but operate as part of the larger parish. St. Benedict Church will close - likely in mid-January - and St. Joseph's Church had already been closed last year.

Archbishop John Neienstadt originally had a sixth parish as part of the merger, but in November amended his order and placed St. Thomas Parish with St. Anne's of Le Sueur. Previously St. Thomas, St. Scholastica and St. Joseph had been grouped together under one pastor.

Since the announcement was made earlier this fall of the merger, a 13-member committee was formed to ease the transition. The parishes will have six Masses each weekend - three of them at St. Wenceslaus, (4 or 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday), one will be at St. John's (10 a.m. Sunday), one at St. Scholastica (8 a.m. Sunday) and one (8:15 p.m. Saturday) will switch between St. John and St. Scholastica seasonally, with Mass at St. John's from November through April and at St. Scholastica May through October.

Father Kevin Clinton, pastor of St. Wenceslaus, will be pastor of the new, larger parish.

By necessity

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