RCC Archdiocese of Omaha rolls out restructuring plans

Fewer and fewer people go to church. This is the reality facing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha on this Ash Wednesday. They are now looking to roll out a three-year initiative to restructure what the church will look like in the community in the future. Church officials say the old days of having a church on every corner are slowly fading. But they hope this new plan will help them prepare for what the church will look like in the future. When people come to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Gretna, something strikes differently. “One of the first things they say is it feels like home. There’s a sense of belonging,” said Father Jeffery Loseke, pastor of St. Charles Catholic Church. Borromeo. The 17-year-old parish is the youngest in the diocese, nestled in the fast-growing community of West Omaha. It is made up of young families, and their number continues to grow. Many times though, this is not the case. “In the rural part of the diocese, a lot of communities are shrinking. In the urban and suburban part of the diocese, the numbers are increasing,” Fr. Loseke said. Two major issues highlighted by the Archdiocese of Omaha: The number of available priests will drop from the current 111 to 84 by 2032. Attendance has also declined: less than one in four Catholics attend weekly Mass. This makes the current structure unsustainable. “The days when parishes were separated by a mile, sometimes a few blocks in some places, that no longer makes sense,” said Deacon Tim McNeil, of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Now, a new pastoral planning initiative could impact how parishes and schools continue in the future. It will begin with eight listening and learning sessions between pastors and parishioners. He will identify the best ways to maintain a simple and efficient organizational structure, while meeting the current needs of the community. “I hope it is a success and we will pray that more people will take a look,” said Janet Lehn, a parishioner at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral. The archdiocese says that while most parishes and schools will eventually see changes, no decision has yet been made. And the archdiocese says the move could change where and how Catholics practice their faith, but it won’t change the church’s core teachings.

Fewer and fewer people go to church. This is the reality facing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha on this Ash Wednesday.

They are now looking to roll out a three-year initiative to restructure what the church will look like in the community in the future.

Church officials say the old days of having a church on every corner are slowly fading. But they hope this new plan will help them prepare for what the church will look like in the future.

When people come to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Gretna, something strikes differently.

“One of the first things they say is it feels like home. There’s a sense of belonging,” said Father Jeffery Loseke, pastor of St. Charles Catholic Church. Borromeo.

The 17-year-old parish is the youngest in the diocese, nestled in the fast-growing community of West Omaha. It is made up of young families, and their number continues to grow. Many times though, this is not the case.

“In the rural part of the diocese, a lot of communities are shrinking. In the urban and suburban part of the diocese, the numbers are increasing,” Fr. Loseke said.

Two major issues highlighted by the Archdiocese of Omaha: The number of available priests will drop from the current 111 to 84 by 2032. Attendance has also declined: less than one in four Catholics attend weekly Mass.

This makes the current structure unsustainable.

“The days when parishes were separated by a mile, sometimes a few blocks in some places, that no longer makes sense,” said Deacon Tim McNeil, of the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Now, a new pastoral planning initiative could impact how parishes and schools will continue in the future. It will begin with eight listening and learning sessions between pastors and parishioners. He will identify the best ways to maintain a simple and efficient organizational structure, while meeting the current needs of the community.

“I hope it is a success and we will pray that more people will take a look,” said Janet Lehn, a parishioner at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral.

The archdiocese says that while most parishes and schools will eventually see changes, no decision has yet been made.

And the archdiocese says the move could change where and how Catholics practice their faith, but it won’t change the church’s core teachings.

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