Saturday, June 5, 1999

Priests to do
double duty at
Catholic parishes

By Mary Adamski


Two Honolulu Catholic parishes will feel the impact of the dwindling number of Catholic priests this summer.

Sacred Heart Church in Makiki and St. Pius X Church in Manoa will share the Rev. Marc Alexander as their pastor after the Rev. Louis Yim retires from St. Pius X at the end of this month.

Alexander will be joined by the Rev. Steve Nguyen, who was ordained last night by Honolulu Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo.

The bishop has said he prefers to pair up parishes in this fashion rather than close churches, as has been done in many mainland cities and rural areas.

"His main purpose is to keep the parish identity, to keep each as a separate community as much as possible," said diocesan spokesman Patrick Downes.

The Manoa-Punahou Catholic Community will share a secretary and have a joint finance committee and facilities management committee. Programs such as religious education, youth ministry and the parish health-care ministry will be integrated, but parish councils and volunteer activities will remain separate.

Daily and Sunday masses will be held at both parishes. At the annual October head count, about 1,000 attended the six Sunday services at Sacred Heart, and 250 attended the St. Pius X masses.

A large Korean Catholic community, with its own priest who presides at three Korean language masses each Sunday, has been based at the Makiki church for years. Those services will be moved to the larger Manoa church.

It is not the first time that DiLorenzo has implemented the paired parish concept. A similar arrangement is in effect for parishes at Pahala and Naalehu on the Big Island, and Paia and Haiku on Maui, Downes said.

Earlier this year, a new Oahu parish was dedicated, St. Jude's Church in Makakilo.

Downes said there are 113 active priests and 64 parishes in Hawaii. "Their numbers are decreasing. This is probably the way the diocese will address the shortage in the near future."

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