The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City is seeking public input on the need for a possible new parish church and school in Columbia. A listening session Monday night at the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Columbia was part of a series of sessions at Catholic Churches in Columbia. Sister Kathleen Wegman, Chancellor of the Diocese of Jefferson City says that the listening sessions are in response to questions about the growing needs of Columbia’s growing Catholic community.
“The statistics showed there is a continued growth in the city of Columbia and the parishes have been trying to respond to this growing need,” Wegman said.
A case statement handed out at Monday’s session says that in the past decade the enrollment in Columbia’s three parishes has expanded 16 percent. In the same time frame the area’s Hispanic population has increased by 115 percent, something that the diocese is taking into consideration. Reverend Joseph Corel, Interim Director of the Diocese of Jefferson City says that a listening session in Spanish will take place for the Hispanic population.
“We have not had our Hispanic population listening session yet but they’re just as much a part of this Catholic Church as the Anglos,” Corel said.
Wegman says no decisions about a new parish and school will be made until next spring but three more listening sessions are scheduled in the next week - on Wednesday at Our Lady of Lourdes and Friday and Sunday at Sacred Heart, with the Friday discussion in Spanish.