Diocese Moves Forward with Father Blair’s Transfer

Diocese Moves Forward with Father Blair’s Transfer

Updated: May 05, 2010 11:05 PM EDT
WBAY Wisconsin

By Sarah Thomsen

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay announced late Wednesday afternoon it will still reassign a popular Green Bay priest to a larger parish in the Fox Valley.

Members of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish in downtown Green Bay prayed and sang as they waited for a decision on the future of Father Guy Blair. He’s well-known and loved by parishioners for his work with the deaf community — he is the only signing priest in the diocese.

“We thank the bishop for meeting with us today,” Jean Laux, parish council vice chair, said.

Despite another meeting with parish leaders, the diocese says it will stand by its decision to reassign Father Blair to the much larger St. Paul church in Combined Locks due in part to a priest shortage.

In a statement the diocese said, “While being sensitive to Fr. Blair’s good work in integrating the deaf and hearing communities into one, Bishop Ricken said he needs to be concerned about every Catholic.”

“It won’t be the same — it never is — but there is opportunity for continued spiritual growth under new leadership,” Bishop Ricken said in the statement.

Members say they’re planning yet another meeting with the bishop.

“Our bilingual and bicultural Catholic faith community will continue to work together to look for solutions,” Laux said.

Tuesday night, Father Blair called this a challenging time for all.

“I understand,” he said. “I don’t like, but I understand the need to move to a larger community that needs to be served.”

The diocese has not yet announced who will take over as priest at St. John’s. Blair’s assignment in Combined Locks begins in September.

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