A Note From Father Eickhoff

May 19, 2024

In the bulletin today you will find a lengthy letter from the Diocese of Joliet Restructuring Committee concerning the next stage of parish closings and mergers in the Diocese of Joliet. I encourage you to read the letter. You will immediately note that St. Anne Parish in Oswego is not on the list of parishes that are being considered for closure or merger with another parish. There is no discussion or consideration that I am aware of for changing anything about St. Anne’s status as a parish. I do ask you to pray for the people of the affected parishes. Having your parish named on that list must be a terrible shock. If you should speak to anyone from one of those parishes, it would be good to remind them that simply having their parish placed on the list does not automatically mean that the parish will be closed or merged with another parish. Instead, it means that their parish is under consideration for such an action.

Having an announcement like this come out on the Feast of Pentecost does seem to be extra painful. Pentecost is the great feast day of the beginning of the Church and to be announcing possible parish closures on this weekend seems as if the diocese is lamenting the decline of the Church in our diocese. However, I would remind you all that the state of the Church in particular places and in particular times does go through highs and lows. In some times the Church is widespread and esteemed by most people and in other times it might diminish and be held in derision by most people. What the Church does not do throughout the world is vanish. Christ has promised that the Church will be with Him unto the end. If times seem hard now, they may very well get better at some point in the future even though we may not know when that will be. And if they do not get better in our own time we still here and now can gain satisfaction from knowing that our efforts to preserve and build up the Christian faith may bear fruit in the future. For whom but God can know whether Christians ten years from now or fifty years from now will look back on our time and say to themselves:

“Those parishioners of St. Anne in 2024 laid the foundation for all the good that we have inherited today.”

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Stephen Eickhoff