Catholic diocese wrap up last meeting about possible new parish and school in Columbia

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City wrapped up the last listening session about adding a new parish and grade school in Columbia on Sunday.

The diocese has been asking for feedback and concerns about the expansion, which have included cost and tuition.

A representative told ABC 17 News there will be praying and another round of targeted sessions coming up in the future.

"Again, we'll go back to listening about it and seeing what's being said, the common themes of that plus the common factors that were said in the opening listening sessions will kind of give directions to where we think this is headed," said Father Joe Corel, Interim Director of Catholic Schools.

Recommendations on the addition of a new parish and elementary school in Columbia are expected next June.

The diocese had scheduled five meetings for November in the Columbia area.

Leaders have been talking about a new school in the region for several years as the Catholic community continues to grow.

"It's a great moment for the people of God, for the Diocese of Jefferson City and in particularly for the people of Columbia to come together and to wrap put hands around the current situation," said Sr. Kathleen Wegman, chancellor for the Diocese of Jefferson City.

Currently, there are three Catholic parishes in Columbia.

Only Our Lady of Lourdes has a grade school. The school turns away about 50 kindergarten through second grade students each year and has had to add several mobile units to handle its current student population.

Leaders also say the meeting spaces at the three parishes -- Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart and St. Thomas More Newman Center -- are also in short supply.

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