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Pastor installed at St. Joseph Parish

  • From left to right are Father Joseph Trapp, Rev. Philemon Okoh, Father Urban Osuji, C.M., the Very Rev. Steven L. Beatty, Vicar Forane, and the Rev. Osang Idagbo, C.M.

    From left to right are Father Joseph Trapp, Rev. Philemon Okoh, Father Urban Osuji, C.M., the Very Rev. Steven L. Beatty, Vicar Forane, and the Rev. Osang Idagbo, C.M.
    Courtesy of David Cooper

 
Submitted by David Cooper
Posted on 9/12/2018, 12:12 PM

On Sept. 9, Father Urban Osuji, CM was installed as the pastor of St. Joseph Church in Benton.

The Very Rev. Steven L. Beatty, Vicar Forane-Designate for the South Vicariate of the Diocese of Belleville, officiated at the installation. The event celebrated the beginning of the "New" St. Joseph Parish. A mass was held, and a breakfast honoring Father Osuji followed at the St. Joseph Parish Hall.

For the past three years, Father Osuji has been the administrator of the Parish Partnership of St. Joseph, Benton; St. Andrew, Christopher; and St. Mary, Sesser. In 2011 the restructuring of the three parishes into a Parish Partnership was necessitated by not having enough priests in the diocese to serve each church on a full-time basis and the dwindling number of people in attendance.

On July 31, the Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, Bishop of Belleville, announced that St. Joseph Parish in Benton would become the "Mother Church" of the three parishes. The goal and hope isthat the parishioners of all three parishes will come together to form one stronger parish with two chapels.

St. Andrew Parish in Christopher and St. Mary Parish in Sesser will now be designated as chapels of St. Joseph Parish in Benton. The chapels will be used for weddings, funerals and special celebrations. The new boundary of St. Joseph Parish will embrace the two former parishes.

Beginning the weekend of Sept. 15 and 16, masses will now be celebrated at the New St. Joseph Church. The new mass schedule will be at 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and at 10 a.m. Sundays.