Rev. Monte Robinson passed the keys of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Truman to Rev. Randy Budnar, who will be taking over on July 7.
The retirement of Rev. James Hinnen from St. Mary and St. Paul Catholic Church in Mineral Point left an opening, which Robinson was assigned to fill.
Robinson will be leaving Truman, where he served for 17 years, making him the longest-serving pastor at that church. Robinson also serves at St. Michael Catholic Church in Calamine and St. Philomena Catholic Church in Belmont.
Robinson will continue to serve in Belmont, but Budnar will assist Calamine.
“Most priests are moved about every six to 12 years,” Robinson said.
Budnar, who has served at Holy Rosary Catholic Church and Holy Rosary School in Darlington for 10 years, will be adding Immaculate Conception and St. Michael as well as two others, St. Peter Catholic Church in Elk Grove and Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Seymour, to his duties. Budnar also assists the hospital and nursing homes in Darlington.
“There will be more things to do, more people to help,” said Budnar. “It’s an exciting time. Part of it is just organizing it all to give the limited amount of time I have to all of the parishes.”
Robinson said St. Mary and St. Paul in Mineral Point has approximately 400 families to serve.
“Like Father Randy I’ll be having more responsibilities, more weddings, more funerals and sacramental assignments,” said Robinson. “It’s about 2½ times bigger than Belmont, where I’m living now.”
Robinson said he will continue to serve Belmont but will reside in Mineral Point because there will be more services to provide there.
The rural churches will see significant changes in their service times. St. Peter, Our Lady of Hope, St. Michael and Immaculate Conception parishes will have church services once a month instead of once a week or once every other week.
Masses in Darlington will be on Saturdays at 5:15 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. The 8 a.m. Mass will alternate between the churches Budnar serves St. Peter on the first Sundays, Our Lady of Hope Parish on the second Sundays, St. Michael on the third Sundays, and Immaculate Conception on the fourth Sundays. Mass on fifth Sundays will be at Holy Rosary, with the rural parishes taking leadership roles
Robinson said Mass at Belmont will be held Sundays at 10:30 a.m. He will also have services in Mineral Point on Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
“For both of us this means a lot more time on the road,” Robinson said.
Robinson said it’s difficult for people, and it’s going to be a big change for many, but a lot of places are cutting back, including the post office and local businesses in the Belmont community.
“One thing I have heard from parishioners is that they are glad that at least they were having one Mass and have some identity rather than just be told that they were closed,” said Robinson. “There is some cause for appreciation.”
Budnar said the realignment process of so many churches has taken five years to accomplish.
“It’s going to be a year of change for everybody,” said Robinson. “People have been working on this, actively preparing … through a program called ‘Guided by the Spirit,’ so many of these plans have been made locally and ratified by our bishop in Madison.”
Robinson said Budnar will be a good fit for the Truman and Calamine churches because he will be able to serve the young and the old and everyone in between.
A pot luck party will be held at Immaculate Conception in Truman Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m., to send off Robinson and welcome Budnar to his new congregation.
Robinson has been a priest for 37 years, 17 of which have been spent in Truman and Calamine. Budnar has been a priest for 24 years.
“It’s hard to leave and hard to say goodbye to people after 17 years,” said Robinson. “I’ll miss them all.”
Other changes are taking place in Lafayette County Catholic churches. Rev. David Wanish, who served churches in Gratiot and South Wayne, will be transferring to St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Johnson Creek. Rev. John Bosco Pudhota, who served St. Peter and Our Lady of Hope, will take over St. Joseph Catholic Church in Gratiot and St. John Catholic Church in South Wayne, as well as St. Matthew Catholic Church in Shullsburg.
St. Michael Catholic Church in Yellowstone will close its doors Sunday, July 1 following the final service held at 1 p.m.