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A steering committee formed by area Catholic church pastors has been meeting the past couple of months to discuss the future direction of schools and parishes.

The committee is comprised of members from the following parishes — St. Ignatius, Concord Hill; St. John the Baptist-Gildehaus, Villa Ridge; Our Lady of Lourdes, Washington; St. Gertrude, Krakow; St. Ann, Clover Bottom; St. Gerald, Gerald; Holy Family, Port Hudson; St. Francis Borgia, Washington; and St. Vincent de Paul, Dutzow.

St. Ann, St. Gerald and Holy Family do not have parish schools; the others all do.

According to Father Jim Theby, Our Lady of Lourdes pastor, the committee has been asked to study past and present realities, and develop recommendations as to how Catholics in and around the Washington area might continue to “provide for the evangelization and formational needs” of parish families.

“The committee has been diligently gathering and studying facts and information about our parishes and schools, analyzing trends within the Washington area and researching recent collaborative efforts among parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” Father Jim stated in Sunday’s bulletin.

“Eventually, the committee will begin exploring options for possible collaboration among our parishes and schools,” he said. 

Father Jim said the pastors have asked the steering committee to keep the parish and school communities informed of its progress and to reach out to parishioners, parents and teachers for advice and direction.

“The steering committee is now prepared to share the information and research they have gathered to date and to seek input,” he said.

Father Jim stressed that no decision has been made regarding a future path.

“We will share demographics, statistics and finances of all of the parishes involved,” he said. 

Nine town hall meetings are scheduled for next week. Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m. All parishioners, parents and teachers are invited to any of these sessions. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, April 30 — St. Ignatius and St. John the Baptist-Gildehaus, both locations.

Tuesday, May 1 — Our Lady of Lourdes.

Wednesday, May 2 — St. Gertrude, St. Ann, St. Gerald and Holy Family, one presentation at St. Gertrude.

Thursday, May 3 — St. Francis Borgia and St. Vincent de Paul, both locations.

Father Jim said the same information will be presented at all meetings.

Over the last several years, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has made changes with some parish schools in the St. Louis area. Some schools have been closed and others consolidated with enhanced programming.