CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – Catholic church services in Campbell were a bit different Sunday morning.
With two churches closing, all parishioners will be going to service at a central location, Saint John the Baptist.
In September, the Youngstown Diocese announced the closing of two Campbell churches, Saint Lucy Church and Saint Joseph the Provider Church.
The decision was based on finances. With a debt of nearly $850,000, the parish could not afford to keep all three churches running.
In 2012, the three churches were put into one parish. Talks started in 2015 about closing two of the three worship sites.
“But for some reason, it was never acted upon. And so, since 2015, the people really knew that this was in the horizon, that this was going to happen,” said Father James Korda.
Bishop David Bonnar said the decision to close the churches was painful. He knows the churches represent refuge and are filled with family history.
Korda hopes this new chapter will be a unifying experience in Campbell.
“It’s going to be very important that those people who gather on a weekly basis are extremely open, respectful and welcoming of other people. Not just those in the city of Campbell, but those who might be interested in looking for a parish,” Father Korda said.
Starting Sunday morning, parishioners came to Saint John the Baptist church for Mass.
The properties the former churches resided on will be sold. Father Korda said they are looking for a buyer who will have a sacred use for the former churches and the property.