BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - St. Louis King of France Catholic (SLKF) Church announced on Sunday that the church will cease to operate as a parish before the end of the year.
The announcement came at Sunday Masses celebrated at SLKF by its pastor, Rev. Michael Alello. Rev. Alello is also Administrator of St. Thomas More (STM) parish.
The action comes several months after an announcement was made in both parishes saying the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Task Force had recommended SLKF should close no later than July 1, 2018.
Officials with the church say St .Louis King of France will be amalgamated into St. Thomas Moore, meaning STM will now include the former boundaries of SLKF and its registered parishioners, assets, liabilities and properties will be transferred to STM.
Since that time, the deliberations of several diocesan consultative groups required to canonically close a parish have produced a unanimous recommendation that the parish should cease to operate, officials say.
According to church officials, Bishop Robert W. Muench, after much prayer and reflection, accepted the recommendation and made the final decision last week.
The two parishes have been collaborating in a process of pastoral planning for the future, given the declining number of priests available for ministerial service and the changing demographics of their areas.
This process has been facilitated by the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Task Force, which based its recommendation on a study of parish profiles, trends in attendance and financial giving, and interviews with pastors, deacons, and parish lay leadership. Since ministries at SLKF will cease to operate with the closure of the parish, St. Louis King of France Catholic School, a ministry of the church parish, will also close.
The church's final day of operating as a parish is on November 26, 2017, the Feast of Christ the King.
The announcement of the school's closure, scheduled for the end of the current school year, was made by Rev. Alello on Friday.
The parish of St. Louis King of France was established on October 1, 1966 by Bishop Robert E. Tracy with Fr. John McNamara as its first pastor.