Archdiocese to close St. Richard Parish
Nearly 60 parishioners were at a meeting after the 8:30 a.m. Mass at St. Richard Church in Omaha March 29 when Father Frank Baumert announced the parish is closing.
He told parishioners the parish was closing this summer because of financial problems.
He said it would cost the parish about $60,000 for the general upkeep of the buildings and another $60,000 for personnel. The problem is that parish income has been running around $50,000, he said, which is $70,000 short of what's needed.
"This is a tough goal," he said.
Just three weeks ago, the archdiocese announced that St. Richard School will close at the end of the current school year.
In recent years, membership has declined, and St. Richard had cut back to only one Mass on Sundays. Now 50 to 75 people attend weekly Mass there. The parish currently has 136 registered members, with many of them 65 years or older.
Neighboring parishes will take up the parish territory formerly belonging to St. Richard. They are Holy Name, 2901 Fontenelle Blvd.; Blessed Sacrament, 3020 Curtis Ave.; St. Bernard, 3601 N. 65th St.; and Sacred Heart, 2218 Binney St.
Father Baumert said St. Richard parishioners can choose which parish they want to attend regardless of boundaries.
Parish property and buildings, located at 4320 Fort St., will transfer to Holy Name, where Father Baumert also is pastor, providing an additional campus about 1.5 miles north of its current location. Holy Name is exploring the best possible uses of the property, including possible space for Holy Name Housing Corp. and a community center, Father Baumert said.
Parishioners were asked to consider donating the church's stained-glass windows, Stations of the Cross and other items they inherited from Holy Angels Church, which closed years ago, to the new St. Charles Borromeo Church. The church in Gretna is hoping to be completed by April 2010.
St. Richard parishioners also have been asked to plan the parish's final celebration for some time this spring or early summer.
Father Joseph Taphorn, chancellor of the archdiocese, acknowledged in a March 29 press release that while it was a difficult decision to close the parish, he believes it is the best choice for the future.
"While this is not easy news, we think the change will be positive in the long run," he said. "The people from St. Richard have much to offer their new parish communities and we believe they'll benefit from new opportunities to participate in vibrant, nearby parishes."