COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus held mass at the historic St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in the Italian Village Sunday.
The church is one of a number of Catholic churches he is visiting before deciding whether to extinguish, combine, or keep them unchanged this year.
The historically Italian-speaking church was founded in the 1800s. Parishioners and their families turned out in droves Sunday to show their support.
Bishop Earl Fernandes said that while he knows Sunday’s mass wasn’t the church’s last, he won’t be making any permanent decisions about the church’s future just yet.
“We’re discerning all of that in light of the number of priests that we have, in light of the number of people coming to mass,” he said.
One parishioner said his heart is with St. John’s because his family has been going to services there since the 1940s.
“A great opportunity to see him in person and to listen to him and I hope he has good things to say about keeping our church together,” said St. John the Baptist parishioner Dan Stephanelli.
The bishop said he won’t make any major decisions until around Pentecost, which is around May or June.
The executive director of the Italian Festival said plans for the festival are still on as decisions remain up in the air.