Danedri Thompson
A merger of Sacred Heart and Assumption Catholic Churches in Gardner and Edgerton is resulting in one additional mass each week for worshippers
Judy Wernsman, church secretary, said the merger of the two Catholic dioceses is a local example of a national problem.
“It’s just because of the shortage of priests. It’s kind of an ongoing thing. You see it not just in this Archdiocese,” Wernsman said.
Wernsman said when she visited her son in western Kansas last month, she noticed Catholic Church mergers there as well.
“It’s something that’s ongoing, unfortunately within the U.S.,” she said. “We have such a shortage of priests.”
Effective Sept. 1, Sacred Heart in Gardner and Assumption in Edgerton belong to the same parish — now called Divine Mercy. Joseph F. Naumann, the Archbishop of Kansas City and the Kansas Diocese made the decision to join the two churches.
Sacred Heart boasts approximately 1,000 families as members, while Assumption boasts approximately 75 families.
Both church buildings, Sacred Heart on West Main Street, and Assumption in Edgerton, will continue to offer church services, but there will no longer be a Sunday morning Mass in Edgerton.
The church also owns a building that once hosted Mass services on Center Street in Gardner, and a parish building on East Warren Street. The old church and the parish building will continue to be used for religious education classes and events.
Before the merger, the Edgerton Church shared a priest with the Baldwin Catholic Church. Now, Father Joe Kramer, who presides over Sacred Heart, will lead Mass in both the Gardner and Edgerton Catholic Churches.
Divine Mercy parishioners now have five weekend Mass services to choose from — in Gardner, a 5 p.m. Saturday night Mass; 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses on Sunday mornings; and 7 p.m. Mass on Sunday evenings. In Edgerton, Mass will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Members of Assumption Catholic Church in Edgerton have the option to register with the Divine Mercy Diocese or with dioceses in Baldwin and Ottawa.