Parishioners worried about 5 church cluster in Portland, West Louisville

Parishioners worried about 5 church cluster in Portland, West Louisville
Christ the King Catholic Church.
Christ the King parishioner Deborah Wade, 63, has been a member since the second grade. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Christ the King parishioner Deborah Wade, 63, has been a member since the second grade. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Archdiocese of Louisville confirmed it has received numerous letters of concern from parishioners of five of its churches that will be clustered.

That means one pastor for five parishes. Four of the churches are in West Louisville, one is in Portland. Church members are fearful of losing the family identity that they have built over the years, and one e-mail that couldn't be traced that was forwarded to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is both concerning and controversial.

The Archdiocese told WAVE 3 News in a statement:

"Parish clustering (one pastor serving two or more parishes) has been part of the structure of the Archdiocese for many decades. Presently we have 74 pastors and 2 pastoral administrators serving 110 parishes.

But some Church members said one priest is leaving in two years and another is only available on weekends.

Deborah Wade is a member of Christ the King Catholic Church.

"We got the notification (in April) that the Archbishop had assigned one priest as a pastor over five churches," Wade said.

Wade, 63, has been a member of Christ the King since she was in the second grade.

"It's unfair to him, and it's unfair to us," Wade continued.

Wade read from a controversial e-mail circulating among parishioners. Another church member forwarded it to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz. Allegedly, it's from concerned parishioners from Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Portland, but it could not be verified by WAVE 3 News or the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Wade read from it:

"We pride ourselves in being part of historic Portland, not the West End."

It continues,

"We will not put ourselves in harm's way by attending events in their parishes. We do not want our families exposed to that environment."

There's no way of knowing who actually wrote the note. Archbishop Kurtz responded to the concerned church member that the authenticity couldn't be validated, but took issue with the racism it presented.

Addressing the note's contents, Archbishop Kurtz said, "I want to stress that as Catholics, we are called to welcome all."

Wade said she and other parishioners are hoping something can be worked out to add at least one more Pastor.

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese told WAVE 3 News that the pastor will also be helped by capable deacons:

"Deacon Jim Turner, the current pastoral administrator for Saint Martin de Porres and Saint Augustine Parishes, has been assigned to the five parishes along with the other three deacons (Deacon Paul Bissig, Deacon Michael Burchett, and Deacon Keith McKenzie) who are presently assigned to one or more of the parishes.

The meeting will be held 6:00 p.m. Tuesday night, June 5, at the Catholic Enrichment Center at 3146 West Broadway.

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