Two More Quincy Parishes to Merge
By Steve Eighinger
Quincy Herald Whig
July 25, 2006
Quincy will soon lose another Catholic church when the St. Dominic and St. Anthony parishes combine.
There is no specific timetable for the union of the two parishes, but the Rev. Tom Hagstrom, pastor of both St. Dominic and St. Anthony for the past year, said he would not rule out the consolidation becoming official before the end of the year.
Hagstrom said Bishop George Lucas of the Diocese of Springfield is a proponent of the consolidation. Hagstrom said Lucas expressed why he thought it would be beneficial to both parishes when he visited Quincy for a meeting earlier this year involving about 150 representatives from both parishes.
What will ultimately result is weekend worship services being held at St. Anthony, 2223 St. Anthony Road, with the parish school at St. Dominic, 4100 Columbus Road.
"There is no formal plan in place yet," Hagstrom said. "We're just past the exploratory stage."
Hagstrom said pastoral councils from each parish will continue to meet in an effort to define what shape the parish will take and outline a plan for the future.
St. Dominic Parish is home to 1,390 parishioners and 400 families, and St. Anthony Parish has 1,156 parishioners and 361 families, according to information supplied by the Diocese of Springfield.
When the merger of St. Anthony and St. Dominic is complete, it will mean in roughly seven years Quincy has seen its number of Catholic churches reduced from eight to four. The reduction began with the merger of St. John and St. Rose into All Saints in 1999.
The most recent closings came earlier this summer when St. Mary, All Saints and St. Boniface merged to form Blessed Sacrament.
"There have been all kinds of rumors and talk about (St. Dominic and St. Anthony) in the aftermath of the formation of Blessed Sacrament," Hagstrom said.
Hagstrom said the church/parish closings and mergers happening in Quincy are not isolated incidents.
"What we are seeing in the Catholic Church is the next great shortage — a shortage of parishioners, and it is really affecting rural areas and small cities like Quincy," Hagstrom said. "This is going on in every diocese. This is reality."
Along with smaller families and a fall-off in regular church attendance, Hagstrom said there is another factor in the ongoing closings of Catholic facilities. He firmly believes the 2002 abuse scandal within the church has played a major role.
"What happened in 2002 was actually a revelation of a lot of things that had been going on and had been covered up," Hagstrom said. "Many took great offense in priests everywhere who had been involved in very criminal and very serious sin, and that (sexual) predators had been tolerated.
"People have the right to expect something better from the church."
Contact Staff Writer Steve Eighinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 221-3377
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