Fresno diocese consolidates parishes

'A new unified Catholic community'
St. Charles Borromeo Church in Visalia, St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Goshen, Holy Family Church in Visalia and St. Mary's in Visalia. (Photo: Sylverarts / Juan Villa)

St. Charles Borromeo Church in Visalia, St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Goshen, Holy Family Church in Visalia and St. Mary’s in Visalia.
(Photo: Sylverarts / Juan Villa)

The following comes from a January 29 Visalia Times-Delta article by Juan Villa:

A process that began more than seven years ago concluded earlier this month with the consolidation of the Catholic parishes in Visalia and Goshen into one entity: The Good Shepherd Catholic Parish.

The newly named parish replaces the current title, The Catholic Church of Visalia.

“They will not notice a difference,” said Monsignor Raymond Dreiling of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. “There may be some small changes in scheduling, with a reduced number of priests, they may have to reschedule the masses to make them more available to people. That may be a little different, but they will see very little difference when they go to church on Sundays.”

Dreiling was pastor of The Catholic Church of Visalia until 2014. He said it was the first time the Diocese has consolidated multiple churches into one parish due to the shortage of priests across the country.

The four worship sites consolidated are The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (St. Mary’s), St. Charles Borromeo Church and Holy Family Church in Visalia and St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Goshen.

“St. Thomas has been part of the Catholic community of Visalia for many, many years,” Dreiling said. “It was consolidated because it was too small for a community to really support a resident priest, to pay his salary and support his livelihood. They just didn’t have the means to do that.”

The Diocese of Fresno, which serves eight counties in the Central Valley and two in Nevada, is the second fastest growing diocese in the United States, Medina said.

It’s currently the 14th largest Catholic diocese in the country.

“So, that being said, we have to find ways in which we can think outside the box on how we are going to serve the spiritual needs of a huge population of Catholics, and serve them well, not just get by and do the bare minimum, but really grow people’s faith and assist them in times of need, joys and sorrows,” Dreiling said. “How can we do that with the fewer number of priests we have and a large number of people we’re trying to serve?”

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  1. The implosion continues, and my stomach turns. For those losing their churches, you’ll likely find a traditional parish just up the road. Seek God’s advise and you will find. Knock and it shall be opened says the Lord.

  2. V2 priests are drying up. I believe a read about a year ago the average age of them in this country was over 60 years old. With the negative trend continuing into the future, it looks very dismal. Many people holding onto their V2 roots may find themselves without a priest to hear their last confession, or the anointing of the sick. There is hope for them however, as the Roman Catholic Churches practicing traditional latin sacraments and the Tridentine Latin Mass are growing in parishes, parishioners, and most important religious priests and sisters. We do have a safe haven to turn to, all provided to us by the love of our Savior in these dire times. Browse for a Latin Mass Directory covering North America in your browser with the…

  3. This is NOT the sign of a healthy, growing Catholic Church. She is shrinking quite rapidly, and at the present rate, She will be much smaller, very soon.

  4. If the Kasper proposals for Eucharist for adulterers and others in illicit sexual unions are promoted by Pope Francis in his upcoming exhortation, worship will be distorted, fewer people will come to Holy Mass, confession will be less important and less frequent since the novelty of new church practice will show we can live in sin and still receive Communion without committing sacrilege. Those living in sin will use the church to justify their lives as good. Those looking for redemption will look elsewhere. More parishes will close. Fewer men will become priests. The church will unravel until she reverses the nonsense.

  5. The less visibility a church has in a community, the quicker it will fall apart. Look at vocations: no more nuns in schools or hospitals; therefore no vocations. No more daily Masses at each church, no more seminarians. The poisoned pill of modernism was swallowed at V2, and as a result, the Catholic Church is dying of suicide. Ave Maria Purrissima !

  6. St. Francis of Assisi told his monks they would preach a sermon just by walking around and mingling . The Church used to be a shining light in a world of darkness by being there. Churches were open so people could come in and visit Our Lord. Now, not only are they closed most of the time, they will be locked up. The laity will not attend Mass at different times, nor will they contribute to wasteful spending. In short, attendance will greatly decrease in the Visalia area.

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