The Diocese of Sioux City has finalized their plan to try and strengthen and sustain the ministry of the diocese.
Ministry 2025 was introduced last February, and after input from the 108 parishes, the diocese released its final plan, Friday.
38 parishes will close. Those parishes will be assigned "oratory" status, which means Mass will no longer be celebrated at those sites. But, they can be used for Catholic weddings and funerals. In the draft plan, released last February, church officials had earmarked 40 parishes for "oratory" status.
The remaining 61 parishes will be organized into "clusters." And, the plan for those "clusters" has changed, as well.
The most notable change is the addition of "worship status" for 20 sites. While the parish is technically closed, church officials say the building assigned "worship" status is still open for Sunday Mass, and the sacraments. Diocese spokesperson Kristie Arlt says all eight Sioux City parishes will remain "active", and open. However, the parishes will be clustered... and look like this: Sacred Heart becomes its own cluster; Blessed Sacrament and St. Michael's will form the Holy Cross cluster; Cathedral of the Epiphany, St. Boniface, and St. Joseph will form the Cathedral cluster; Immaculate Conception and Nativity will form the Mater Dei cluster.
Many of the changes will take effect this summer.
The diocese came up the with Ministry 2025 plan to address several challenges. Mass attendance has fallen 27-percent since 2008. And, the total number of registered Catholic households has dropped more than seven-percent. Add to that a projection that the diocese will have just 31 full-time priests by 2025.