CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – Campbell, also known as “the city of churches,” eventually will be down to just one Roman Catholic Church after the announcement that two more are set to close.
The city at one point had five Catholic churches. St. John the Baptist Parish and St. Lucy/Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish are going to close, but no timeline has been given as to when.
The two churches are part of the merged Christ the Good Shepherd Parish, which also includes St. Joseph the Provider Church.
“The parish council and the finance council, along with the pastor, have come to a conclusion about what to do and I think it is a reasonable conclusion,” Youngstown Bishop George Murry said.
Over the weekend, parishioners received a letter outlining the decision and plans for the churches going forward.
“The church that we will use for major feasts and weekend Masses is St. Joseph the Provider Church. Starting this week, we will use St. John’s for daily Mass,” the letter from pastor Fr. Shawn Conoboy reads.
He also said the parish is “not in a position to perpetually maintain three churches and three campuses.”
Conoboy said in the letter that he chose St. Joseph the Provider as the primary worship site since it has the facilities best suited to serve the congregation.
It is all part of the six-county Diocese of Youngstown’s reconfiguration plan that began in 2010 because of a shortage of priests and dwindling parish population.
“It is not just a church issue, as far as population,” Fr. Nicholas Shori, Youngstown Diocese Director of Evangelization said.
The city of Campbell has just over 8,000 residents. That is almost a 15 percent decrease since 2000. Of the 1,200 registered families within the Good Shepherd Parish, there is some resistance to the changes, while others understand the reasoning.
“We have go to get to the common good of the church and not just my own particular building. It really holds back what we as a church can really be,” Shori said.