Diocese of Peoria looking to combine parishes, asking for community’s feedback

Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 4:56 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - There are more than 130,000 Catholics, men, women, and children, under the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

It stretches across Central Illinois from the border of Iowa to the border of Indiana but, there are fewer members now than in previous years.

This is leading to a proposal to combine some of the parishes in towns with smaller congregations and Bishop Louis Tylka says, the move is needed to save resources.

This past May, Bishop Louis Tylka said consolidation is on the table. “I’m very concerned about our parishioners,” he said.

Across the 26 counties making up the 155 parishes under the Diocese of Peoria, there are 125 active priests, Bishop Tylka says that number could drop.

“In the year 2050, we believe that we will only have 65 and 80 priests in our diocese.”

He continues, “There’s going to be sadness. Certainly, I know some people are going to be angry. We’re going to have to grieve the loss of what is known but we also have to be very hopeful of what is to come and what is to come is renewal.”

When Bishop Tylka sat down 25News, he said with the community’s input he is hoping they could better use the church’s resources, ”We are looking to in some cases merge the parishes. In some cases, we’ll have to close parishes and, in some cases, the parishes as they exist today will not see any change but we’re trying to figure out each scenario of our different models that will best serve the mission of the church.”

According to the timeline, from Oct. 1-31, there are a series of meetings being held.

The community feedback survey is due Nov. 22.

A decision will be announced by Pentecost 2024, which is Sunday, May 19.

Between 2024-2026, the new structure will begin.

“We’re taking an honest segment of where we are in 2023, knowing that we want to grow in the future but in order to do that we have the challenges of moving from a maintenance mode to a mission mode,” Bishop Tylka concluded.