PASTORAL PLAN FOR PARISH RENEWAL & RESTRUCTURING:
ST. LEO, MODOC TO JOIN ST. JOSEPH, PRAIRIE DU ROCHER
Story by LIZ QUIRIN
According to the decree of suppression issued by Bishop Edward K. Braxton, the parish of St. Leo in Modoc will be suppressed on March 3, 2014.
At that time, four other diocesan parishes will also be suppressed: Immaculate Conception in Bridgeport, St. Catherine of Alexandria in Grand Chain, St. Mary in Mound City and St. Francis Xavier in St. Francisville.
Each parish is important to the diocese and to the local community.
Parishioners have been invited to join other parish families and will be welcomed at these new parishes after concluding liturgies.
St. Leo “has become so small with limited resources that it is no longer able to function as a free-standing parish,” according to Bishop Braxton’s words in the suppression decree.
Msgr. Daniel Jurek has responsibility for both St. Leo and St. Joseph in Prairie du Rocher. He said parishioners at St. Joseph were looking forward to welcoming the St. Leo parishioners to their faith community at a March 2 liturgy.
According to Msgr. Jurek, the parish presently consists of 26 households.
Discussions about the church buildings are on-going, but “no final decisions have been made,” Msgr. Jurek said.
A final Mass of thanksgiving and farewell will be celebrated at St. Leo at 2 p.m. Feb. 23.
Msgr. Jurek said the people of St. Leo will be returning to their roots because St. Leo was originally formed because of the distance to St. Joseph was too great for some people at the time.
St. Leo the Great was founded in 1892 as a mission of St. Joseph. The first church was blessed the same year, with the first liturgy celebrated the following year.
In 1907, the parish received its first resident pastor. St. Leo’s mission statement stresses service of neighbor. Parishioners participate in a number of activities, collecting clothing, food and toys at various times during the year.
Each of the parishes to be suppressed will be featured in upcoming issues of The Messenger. Other parishes will be announced in the coming months, and will be announced as they are known.