Corpus Christi Parish will consolidate Queen of Apostles and Holy Family churches as part of a strategic plan, Vision 20/20.
Worship services, programming and groups will be combined at the Queen of Apostles location, and Holy Family will close after its March 1, 2020, service, according to the Rev. Tom Thakadipuram, pastor. Our Lady of Carter Lake will remain open as a mission church.
The churches are being consolidated to build community and to make the best use of parish resources, Thakadipuram said.
“We wanted to come into one center — one main center,” he said. “Having everything in one place will help us focus our energies and unify.”
Upgrading and expanding Holy Family’s 1908 structure would not have been cost effective, Thakadipuram said. Queen of Apostles is a newer and better facility, and everything is on ground level.
“It was a most difficult decision in the parish,” he said. “None of us is happy to do it, but it is necessary. “We can’t keep up everything, with the demands of ministry and the (limited) resources.”
Clergy and parishioners are offering support to those who have an emotional attachment to the building, Thakadipuram said.
“It’s a process of grieving together and growing together,” he said.
A 2,500-square-foot addition to the parish office and rectory is under construction to provide more room for offices, meetings and counseling sessions. Ground was broken for the project on July 7, and completion is expected by December, Thakadipuram said. Funds for the project, which is expected to cost more than $500,000, were raised over a five-year period.
“Our biggest need was meeting rooms,” said Andy Heck, chairman of the Parish Consolidation Committee.
Thakadipuram will move into one of the church’s rental houses, and the rectory will become a “hospitality suite” for visiting priests and others. The church’s other rental house will be used for youth and small-group activities.
The parish has come up with several ideas for community-building activities, including holding a pancake breakfast and lunch every Sunday, making its Back-to-School Barbecue an annual event and designating captains to reach out to non-members in their neighborhoods, he said. He also plans to promote small-group ministry.
The three churches in the parish have been collaborating on some things for almost 20 years, Thakadipuram said. However, each was a separate parish until they merged in 2011 to form Corpus Christi Parish. Two years ago, a parish committee proposed closing Holy Family and locating everything at Queen of Apostles. At a parish forum, a “great majority” supported the strategic plan, which has been approved by Bishop Richard Pates.
The parish has about 1,400 families, and a total of 1,000 people attend the six worship services held in the parish each week, he said. That includes four at Queen of Apostles (one in Spanish) and one each at Holy Family and Carter Lake. The Queen of Apostles sanctuary can seat 450 to 500.
The Spanish-language service is currently led by a priest who drives up from Conception, Missouri each week, Thakadipuram said.
“We are going to get an international priest who speaks Spanish and English,” he said. “We have several hundred Hispanic families in our parish.”
The parish will also be getting a new priest to replace its associate pastor, the Rev. Zach Kautzky, who is training to be a chaplain in the Air Force.