Parishioners meet with Bishop to address concerns about Diocese - WNEM TV 5

Parishioners meet with Bishop to address concerns about Diocese reorganization

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PINCONNING, MI (WNEM) -

The value of the church often cannot be measured.

Many of the parishioners who attend St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pinconning said Thursday night it's hard to believe their place of worship will soon be closed.

"My kids were baptized there, and a couple of my grandkids have been baptized there, and married also there," said Becky Chomas, a St. Mary's Parishioner.

"It's part of the family," said Cheryl Sequin, who also attends St. Mary's.

About 50 catholic churches in the Saginaw Diocese could be shuttered for good by 2015. When they close, Parishioners will move to St. Michael's 10 miles away. On Thursday, Sequin and her son attended the 'Holy Hour' at St. Michael's, led by Bishop Joseph Cistone.  Sequin joined many others from all over Mid-Michigan to pray for a miracle for their churches, and share their concerns with the plans to reorganize the Diocese.

"There's got to be another way. Don't close our church," said Sequin.

Our cameras were not allowed inside St. Michael's Church on Thursday night, but as people came and went, it's clear there are a lot of mixed feelings about the Bishop's plans.

"It's the reality, and it's God's way of getting us together and keeping us together, and it's a tough job that the Bishop has had to do," said Chuck Zemanek, who came to support the Bishop from Midland on Thursday.

"We were raised to respect the Priest and respect the Bishop, but my gosh, the things that have been going on," said Alice Stricker, who came in from Saginaw and said she's not happy with the changes.

Bishop Cistone said he understands the emotions this reorganization is creating.

"It's very very hard, and I do understand it, it just tugs at my own heart when I listen to them express their sadness and concern.  I wish there were an easier way. I listen to their feelings, and I have to weigh it against the facts and the reality we're facing as a church," said Cistone.

As the transition begins and churches begin to close, some believe it'll make the church better, others are concerned it'll break it.

"I'm considering not even going to church anymore," said Sequin.

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