A new pastoral plan charts the future for Catholics in the Diocese of La Crosse . Spokesman Ben Nguyen says the plan does not call for the closing of any of the 165 churches in the 19 county diocese. "This plan allows for several entities which would formerly be parishes, to come together to form a new parish entity, while still utilizing those church buildings and those church sites," says Nguyen. "That way, you avoid closures of buildings." And while that may sound like more work for parish priests, Nguyen says that's not the case. "This plan would actually lighten the burden for them," says Nguyen, noting that currently, individual priests are sometimes serving two, three or even four parishes.
Ngyen says the pastoral plan, the product ot two years of work, is an effort to be proactive to changing demographics and needs in the diocese, which is home to some 200,000 Roman Catholics. Bishop Jerome Listecki officially accepted the plan during a ceremony Thursday in La Crosse.