.- A seven-parish coalition in Dayton, known as the Catholic Urban Presence, has devised a new pastoral plan that includes parish mergers to ensure that the Catholic community continues and will flourish in the city.
The plan was necessary due to rapidly dwindling parish membership, school enrollment and funds.
It proposes to merge seven parishes and five schools into two "pastoral regions." Each pastoral region would ultimately become and function as a single parish, reports the Dayton Daily News.
One region would consist of Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Mercy and Queen of Martyrs; the other includes Holy Family, St. Agnes, St. Benedict and St. Mary.
The also develops several pastoral areas, including: worship, pastoral ministries and Catholic elementary education, transportation and accessibility (to church and school), the condition and future use of parish facilities, as well as parish administration and governance.
The plan could be implemented as early as July 2007.
Fr. John Krumm, chairman of the Catholic Urban Presence Planning Process, told the Dayton Daily that discussion and planning among parishioners and pastoral staff has been under way for three years.
The coalition will hold sessions this week to inform parishioners about the plan. They will be held Wednesday, from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, and Thursday, from 9 to 11 a.m., 3 to 5 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m., at St. Mary Church.