By Michelle Sullivan
To many, it could be
considered another controversial move.
On Friday, Archbishop
Raymond Burke is expected to announce what South City Catholic churches
will be closing.
But some say the closings
come at a time when the city is in the midst of a revitalization. The Archbishop's announcement
comes after an 18-month study which looked at what area churches
weren't performing up to par.
Jamie Allman said, "Archbishop Rigali started the pastoral planning 18
months ago because there were many priests that came to us and said we're
having trouble running our schools, we're having trouble keeping our
bank accounts fat and we're having trouble with
parishioners who are moving out."
But Mayor Francis Slay says
things are changing. "More people are moving in than out, property
values are up, we have issued more building permits than ever before in
the city's history," said Slay. Slay met with Burke Tuesday
night as sort of an eleventh hour plea to keep as many churches open as
possible. "We made some pretty strong cases as to the overall plan and
individual parishes as well," said Slay.
The churches are the
cornerstone of these neighborhoods. They provide assistance to
struggling families, some have day care centers and Mayor Slay says the
schools are an incentive for new families moving into the area. Once the churches and schools
are closed, some of them will be leased, but the archdiocese points out
that anything is possible, some could eventually re-open. "Some of them will in fact
remain where they are in the event that we do experience the boom that
the mayor is hoping for," said Allman.
The Archbishop's decision
will appear in Friday's St. Louis Review.
Allman said many South City
Catholics will be relieved to find that not as many churches and
schools will be closed as rumors suggested.
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