An Easter miracle for Greene County Catholics

Greene County Catholics, particularly parishioners of St Columbkille in Churdan and St Brigid in Grand Junction, got an Easter miracle. The two churches will not go to oratory status at the end of June as was announced last summer. They will remain open as worship sites in the new larger parish that will include St Joseph in Jefferson and St John in Ogden.

Fr Jeff Schleisman, pastor of the Greene County Catholic cluster, made the announcement at the Easter vigil at St Columbkille Saturday evening.

The Easter vigil is the most traditional of all Catholic liturgies and includes candles, incense, special music and as many as seven readings from the Old Testament. Renewing baptismal vows is part of the liturgy. The vows all start with “Do you believe…” and list key parts of Catholic doctrine. The congregation answers “I do” to each one.

Fr Schleiman went beyond the scripted baptismal vows, adding as the last one, “Do you believe miracles happen?” After the “I do,” he said the parishes had received an Easter miracle. He had gotten word during the week from the Sioux City diocese’ Ministry 2025 committee that St Columbkille and St Brigid will remain open.

He cautioned that he has not received written confirmation of the decision yet. He said he had planned not to make the announcement until he had it in writing, “but I looked out and so many somber faces.” This was to have been the last Easter liturgy at the church.

As an oratory, the churches would have been able to be used for two masses a year – the feast day of the church’s patron saint and one other time – and for funeral masses. An oratory receives no financial or administrative support from the diocese. Fr Schleisman had announced two weeks ago the dates of the final weekend masses at both churches.

As a worship center, weekend masses will be scheduled regularly. Administrative functions will be handled by the large, blended parish.

Fr Schleisman announced two weeks ago that he would be transferred to Cherokee and Holstein effective July 10, and that Fr John Gerald, who now is in Carrolll County, will be transferred to St Joseph and St John in Ogden.

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