UP Catholic 12 08 2017 E Edition Page 5

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC December 8, 2017 5 BY JOHN FEE THE U.P. CATHOLIC Due to dwindling Mass attendance and inancial shortfalls, the parishioners of St. Therese Mission in Germfask have requested to merge with Divine Infant of Prague Mission in Gulliver. Snowbirds and visitors helped fill the pews in the summer, but the long winters would often see fewer than ten people at Sunday Mass. Bishop John Doerfler suggested to the mission through its pastor, Father Timothy Hruska, that it become a seasonal church. However, year-around parishioners said they would prefer to stay active throughout the year by merging with the Gulliver congregation, about a 20-minute drive away. The financial situation had been on the radar for some time for the parish with 24 registered families, most retired and living on a fixed income. Last March Father Hruska sent a letter to parishioners alerting them that withdrawals from savings had been necessary to meet ex- penses. He asked seasonal parishioners if they would be able to tithe to the church in months when they were not in the U.P., or provide other means of support. He also expressed an openness to new ideas for funding the strug- gling mission. Father Hruska said he met in person with parishioners to propose changing to a sea- sonal church. They pointed out that there would still be some off-season expenses and ongoing building maintenance. Many of the year-around parishioners also said it would be difficult to return to St. Therese after becoming involved with another church family for most of the year. It came as a shock, Father Hruska said, when one parishioner suggested closing the mission and most appeared to be in agreement. After discussion, a vote was taken and it was agreed to request that St. Therese Mission be merged into Divine Infant of Prague Mission. The proposed merger was brought before the Diocesan Priests Council Nov. 7. The coun- cil supported the merger after hearing from Father Hruska about the consultation with the parishioners, which Bishop Doerfler then approved. Father Ben Paris, pastor of Divine Infant of Prague Mission was also agreeable to the merger. The bishop will celebrate the final Mass at the mission on Dec. 17. The Divine Infant of Prague Mission will take on all the assets (physical and monetary) and obligations of the Germfask mission at the end of the year. Sacramental records will be relocated and kept with Gulliver's records. Father Hruska said, I am thankful for the generations of parishioners that have support- ed St. Therese Mission in Germfask. During these difficult times it is a testament to their strong faith that current parishioners want to remain active members of the Church and are looking forward to becoming an integral part of the Gulliver church family. Father Hruska is also pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in Grand Marais and St. Timothy Mis- sion in Curtis. Father Paris is also pastor of St. Francis De Sales Parish in Manistique. According to Seasons of Faith by Angela Johnson, St. Therese Mission dates back to a cobblestone church dedicated in 1932 by Father Bernard Schevers. That structure was lost to fire in 1974 when the current church was built. In the early years, Mass was celebrated at the church monthly. Prior to the building of St. Therese, Mass was celebrated in Germfask once or twice a year. The priest would travel from Newberry to Seney by train, then on to Germfask by handcar. Germfask, Gulliver missions to merge Congratulations Bishop Garland! You have been an inspiration to the Deacons of the Diocese. God Bless you! 906 226-6610 www.foyeins.com. + Sacred Heart, Ewen +St. Ann, Bergland + Immaculate Conception, Watersmeet Bishop James Garland, What a joy it is for us to be able to wish you a Happy & Blessed 25th Jubilee! Now boarding! Attention tour companies, hotel chains, airlines, and others in the travel industry! Book your space now for the U.P. Catholic Newspaper's Travel Issue. Contact Deacon Steve at upc@new.rr.com or 906-863-7460 PHOTO COURTESY OF MARYANN BERNIER A statue of St. Therese of Lisieux stands in the snow outside of St. Therese Mission in Germfask. The mission will be merging with Divine Infant of Prague Mission in Gulliver later this month. Find full issues of The U.P. Catholic online at www.upcatholic.org

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