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Adelaide acts to merge parishes

More than 30 parishes across Adelaide have merged in a shake-up in response to declining priest numbers and lower attendances.

The Advertiser reports today that 31 of about 70 parishes have amalgamated or "clustered" in the past year. It says the mergers are part of the Pastoral Action Plan of the Archdiocese, which aims to shape the future of parishes more effectively.

Another 12 parishes plan to form groups and share resources over the next two years.

Vicar General Monsignor David Cappo (pictured) said that if the church had failed to act, many parishes would have been without a priest.

"The declining number of Catholics regularly attending Mass, as well as the financial viability of a small number of parishes, also prompted the review," he said.

"We are at the stage where the decline in priest numbers is so significant that we just could not keep asking clergy to take on more work," he said. "In the past three years, we've had priests leaving the priesthood, retirements and deaths of priests.

"We can no longer simply provide priests for every parish community as parish boundaries had been organised for the past 20-to-40 years."

Meanwhile Fr Anthony Kain has been appointed facilitator of Adelaide's newly established Office for Worship.

Archbishop Wilson said the new office would undertake a key role in the archdiocese in engaging people more meaningfully in the liturgical life of the church.

The Office for Worship will be located at the Catholic Theological College and while separate from the CTC will form part of a broad-based initiative for the formation and education in faith of the people of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Fr Kain took up this part-time appointment in January and will continue his pastoral leadership in the Goodwood/Kingswood/ Colonel Light Gardens parish cluster. Sr Ilsa Neicinieks, coordinator of RCIA in the diocese will collaborate with the initiative.

Mergers put faith in a mass strategy (The Advertiser 3/2/04 - payment required)
Archbishop Wilson proud of appointments' inclusive nature (Archdiocese of Adelaide)

31 parishes in shake-up (Southern Cross, Feb 04)
Spreading the workload more appropriately (Southern Cross, Feb 04)
Archdiocese of Adelaide

3 Feb 2004