One priest will soon shepherd both Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oberlin and St. Patrick Parish in Wellington.
The decision came after Fr. Robert Cole of Sacred Heart announced an early retirement due to non-life-threatening health issues.
Rather than close the church, Fr. David Trask of St. Patrick will lead both parishes.
Neither parish is closing and they are not merging. Each church will retain its individual identity as they share a single pastor, Cole said.
Northeast Ohio has around 180 parishes and not enough clergy, said Rita Mary Harwood, a representative of the Cleveland Diocese.
She presented details of the Oberlin-Wellington plan March 21 at St. Patrick, noting a decline in active priests from 596 in 1970 to 250 in 2018. Eight parishes in Cleveland already share a pastor.
Adjustments will be made to the weekday and weekend Mass schedules at both parishes. No decisions will be made without community input.
“I have always found that God provides,” Trask wrote in a statement to his congregation.
“I am confident God will continue to guide, direct, and inspire us, the St. Patrick Parish family, as you share me with the people of Sacred Heart in Oberlin.”
We reached out to Trask for further comment but did not receive a reply.
Details of the transition will be discussed simultaneously at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 2 at both Sacred Heart and St. Patrick.
New schedules will be finalized by June 1, with a month left for parishioners to say goodbye to Cole.
“I won’t miss the responsibility of parish administration, but I’ll miss the people I’ve grown to know and love and care about,” said Cole, who served in Oberlin for 10 years.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.