Members of the St. Catherine Church in Grand Chain have formed the St. Catherine Preservation Society after hearing their parish was slated to close. Kevin Ulrich and other members want to keep the church open. Ulrich says parishioners are able to keep the building up to standards, and will take on ownership of funding all costs associated with the church.
In a letter sent to Bishop Braxton and the Dioceses of Belleville, Ulrich wrote, "It is our hope that The Most Reverend Bishop Braxton will not issue a decree relegating St. Catherine Church to profane, but not sordid use in accord with the provisions of Canon Law 1222."
Cannon Law 1222 states, if a church cannot be used in any way for divine worship and there is no possibility of repairing it, the diocesan bishop can relegate it to profane but not sordid use.
St. Catherine Church has around 25 members and is scheduled to close on February 22 after their last service. This church along with St. Mary's Church in Mound City are the last Catholic Churches in Pulaski County.
St. Catherine Church was built in 1896 and officially consecrated on August 10th, 1897 according to Ultich. If St. Catherine Church closes, Ulrich and the society plan to appeal and say they will take it to the Vatican if necessary.