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Bishop sees fewer schools, move to downtown

.- A major reorganization plan in the Diocese of Grand Rapids will diocesan headquarters downtown, merge or close some Catholic schools, share of parish resources and reduce the number of masses to cope with the priest shortage.

These measures are part of a 12-point plan Bishop Walter Hurley sent to all priests Thursday, calling for collaboration.

The diocese also plans to issue statements to all parishes for funds due to the diocesan fund, Catholic Services Appeal. Parishes that have not met their targets are expected to do so in fairness to those that have, reported journalist Charles Honey.

Bishop Hurley said moving the central offices from Burton Street to a diocese-owned office building north of St. Andrew's Cathedral would demonstrate that the Catholic Church is "very much an integral part of the life and culture of Western Michigan."

"That's where things are happening, so we want to be there," Bishop Hurley said of the downtown core.

Catholic philanthropist Peter Wege gave the downtown building to the diocese last year. It is located close to Catholic Central High School, St. Andrew's Elementary School, Saint Mary's Health Care and the bishop's residence.

The move would consolidate 37 staff members, currently scattered in three buildings on the Burton Street campus. The diocese moved its offices to Burton Street from downtown in the early 1980s, after St. Joseph Seminary closed.

Major questions are yet to be answered, including what to do with the Burton Street buildings, Bishop Hurley reportedly said. A final decision will be made in July, after the completion of the diocesan management study.


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