5 Parishes in Belleville Diocese to Close

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By Associated Press

BELLEVILLE, IL (AP) - Southern Illinois' Diocese of Belleville says five of its rural parishes will be consolidated with others.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the closures take effect March 3. Bishop Edward Braxton says the closures resulted from "difficult decisions."

The affected parishes include St. Leo in Modoc, Immaculate Conception in Bridgeport, St. Catherine of Alexandria in Grand Chain, St. Mary in Mound City and St. Francis Xavier in St. Francisville. 

The diocese's Very Rev. Eugene Wojcik says the diocese doesn't have the resources to meet all the needs of all the parishes, given that priests are aging. He says all five soon-to-close parishes were sharing a pastor with at least one other parish.

It's not immediately clear how many congregants attend the five churches.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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