A New Season

A New Name

With this new season of Easter upon us, it is time to announce some changes that are in the works for both St. Thomas More and St. Joan of Arc. I’m not going to mention all the changes here in this one bulletin article, so be sure to check back from time to time. I’ll try to overcommunicate some of these items as they are important and will take some getting used to.

As most of you are aware, we do not have enough priests in the Archdiocese of Omaha to serve as pastors of every individual parish. The scarcity of priests will only increase in the near future as we look at the priest retirements coming up and number of seminarians currently preparing for ordination. Rather than close parishes, medium to small size parishes that have seen a significant decline in Sunday Mass attendance and other sacraments (pre-covid) are likely to be grouped together with other nearby parishes. Parishes are not merging, which implies a closing of parishes, rather, they are grouped together as a network or family of parishes sharing a pastor, a Mass schedule, and other resources like staff, ministries, meeting and office space.

To help pastors keep their sanity and for all the parishes to run efficiently, operations from bookkeeping, maintenance and scheduling to funeral, marriage, and baptism prep, will be centralized from one office staff. To operate as one, it will be helpful to use one name in reference to our family of parishes.
After much brainstorming, suggestions, and discussion, both Parish Councils have approved a shared name. Starting July 1, 2021, the name Midtown Catholic will go live.

Practically, what will this mean for us?

  • One Midtown Catholic bulletin will be published. Separate pages will give specific information for each parish when needed.
  • Our current parish websites will be redirected to one Midtown Catholic website.
  • You will see the Midtown Catholic in emails sent from the parish.
  • One phone number will used to receive the most common parish inquiries and you will hear the name Midtown Catholic used when answering.

This is a new season for the Church in the United States. Almost every diocese in the country is either in the midst of these changes or 10 years behind in planning for the changes. Because some of our pastors here in the archdiocese have been delaying retirement, we’ve been able to buy a few more years, but time is running out. Our approach here in the Archdiocese of Omaha, rather than close parishes, is for parishes to truly work together to combine their efforts in the mission of making disciples.

My goal as pastor is to get Midtown Catholic, that is, our family of parishes in the heart of Omaha, ready for this challenge, ready to for this new season, ready to focus on our mission. A name will not magically make that happen, but it is a first and very necessary step in working as one church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Jeff Lorig