The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has announced the names of the pastors who will be leading 5 of the previously 11 closed churches in the region.
One of those churches is St.John the Baptist parish in Akron where Father. A. Jonathon Zingales will serve as pastor.
"Father Zingales had a previous association with the people of St. John the Baptist, and now he will serve in dual assignments continuing as pastor of Visitation of Mary parish as well as St.John the Baptist."
Cleveland Diocese Spokesman Bob Tayek says Father Zingales will be appointed to his post at St John the Baptist effective Monday July 2.
An additional parish that will be reopened is St. Mary's in Akron.Tayek says their pastor will be announced momentarily.
"We hope in 7-10 days we'll be able to name the pastor who will then guide that parish during its reopening period and re-establish it," Tayek said.
According to Tayek, each pastor will determine the date for the opening Mass for his parish.
Bishop Richard Lennon ordered the churches three years ago due to financial reasons and the Vatican recently ordered the churches reopened.
The goal for the Diocese is to have all masses conducted during the first of August.
Cleveland Catholic Diocese Bishop Richard Lennon is meeting this week with parishioners from several closed churches ordered by the Vatican to be re-opened, including St. John The Baptist and St. Marys in Akron.
Diocese spokesman Bob Tayek tells AkronNewsNow the diocese is just beginning to plan for the reopening of the churches, many of which have been closed for at least two years. " The bishop's meeting with these folks basically in hopes in establishing first of all what did the parish look like when it was first closed, and what are they looking forward to, what do they think it will look like, and the issues that have to be contended with."
Tayek says the first issue that must be addressed is who will lead each church. " That's what is being dealt with now at the diocesan level, to establish those individuals, because that person really will become the leader of the parish," says Tayek.
Bob Tayek says in some cases the re-opened churches will have to share priests or administrators, due to a shortage of priests.
Tayek says Bishop Lennon also wants to know how the churches plan to resolve the issues that had them closed in the first place such as the size of the congregation and finances, will they be financially able to fund church activities.
Tayek says the diocese has set no firm timetable for re-reopening the churches, but indicates the process will be expedited to make the re-openings happen as soon as possible.
The reopening of Catholic churches in Akron and Cleveland is good news to worshipers who were displaced by the closures. The question now: How long until the churches are actually back in service?
"In some cases, it could be weeks, but in some it could be months," said Cleveland Catholic Diocese Spokesman Bob Tayek.
Bishop Richard Lennon announced Tuesday that he would not appeal a Vatican directive that he reopen the churches he had earlier ordered to be closed down.
Tayek says the first major task is to find priests to fill the empty spots - a task that could be challenging since there is an overall shortage of priests. It's also one of the reasons, according to Tayek, that led to the church closings.
Tayek says after priests are assigned, they'll assess the logistics and building needs to establish a clearer timeline in each parish.
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