St. Mathias, St. Mary Catholic churches hold final Mass

Paul Hunter Zaid
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Seaforth has officially closed.

As part of the implementation of the Diocese of New Ulm’s Fourth Plan for Parishes, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Seaforth and St. Mathias’ Catholic Church in Wanda held their last masses recently, while Our Lady of Victory in Lucan merged with St. Anne’s in Wabasso.

In May 2016, Bishop John M. LeVoir began meeting with parishioners and parish leadership from the Light of the World Area Faith Community (Wanda, Seaforth, Wabasso and Lucan) to discuss their future.

Since then, meetings were held with the area faith community pastor, Fr. Anthony Hesse, and the Diocese of New Ulm’s director of Pastoral Planning, Tom Keaveny, to further discern options to close or merge these parishes.

In Fall 2019, Bishop LeVoir met once again with parishioners from each parish.

Following these meetings, St. Mathias in Wanda and St. Mary in Seaforth decided that in 2020, they would close.

Both parishes are looking at options for the church properties with St. Mary’s in Seaforth currently listed for sale.

Our Lady of Victory in Lucan is merging with the Church of St. Anne in Wabasso.

The bishop said that more work needs to be done as the diocese moves forward.

“Given the size of the population of the diocese, the Diocese of New Ulm has too many churches to sustain. The hope is that as the mergers or closures happen, Catholics will gather in larger numbers at fewer church sites and, re-energized by the grace of Eucharist, will evangelize more effectively those who are inactive Catholics and others,” indicated Bishop LeVoir.

Other churches recently closed under the plan include: St. John in Hector and the Church of the Sacred Heart in Franklin.