New Parishioner Information

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We are delighted you are interested in our parish community!  Whether you are looking for a new parish, have just moved to the area, are returning to the practice of your Catholic faith, or are interested in finding out more about the Catholic Church, we are happy to have you here! We are committed to inviting every parishioner to become a disciple of Christ and offer many opportunities for involvement; whether you are single, a family, young or old, all are welcome!

Part of our mission is to educate our parishioners about the importance of stewardship and sharing our God-given gifts.  Our parishes extend many opportunities to come together in faith, serve others, and get involved.

At St. Patrick Church of Merna, we offer a Hospitality ministry for helping other parishioners and many opportunities for parish fellowship. Grace Within for women, Men’s Friday Morning Group, Trivia Night, and family activities such as the parish hot dog roast and Trunk or Treat are groups designed for making connections. Also offered are faith formation opportunities for adults, including Bible studies for women, men, mixed groups, and small groups, as well as a vibrant Religious Education program and Children’s Liturgy of the Word and a nursery for our youngest parishioners.

St. Mary Church in Downs, although a small country parish, boasts a very active Knights of Columbus and Ladies Auxiliary, Religious Education for grades 1-8, and offers many opportunities for parish fellowship such as coffee and donuts on certain Sundays, a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, and a yearly parish picnic.

Our priests and staff provide a warm and welcoming environment and would like to meet and assist you with any questions you have as well as your transition to our parish family and community.  Both of our parishes have a rich history, and we invite you to learn more about them. If you choose to join St. Patrick Church of Merna, you will receive a welcome packet, contact from our staff, and an invitation to the periodic ‘Pizza with the Priests’ get together at which you will gather with other new families and have the chance to learn more about everything our parish community has to offer. St. Mary Church in Downs new parishioners will receive a welcome packet with more information about the parish.

We invite and encourage you to join us and connect with other parish members and look forward to meeting you personally.  For more information, you can contact the parish office ( or (309) 662-7361) or visit other content within our website.  Again, we warmly welcome you, and if you choose to join us, we invite you to complete the new parishioner form, and someone from our staff will be in contact with you.

We are a parish community rooted in Christ and following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. We recognize that everything we have is a gift from God, and we generously give ourselves back to God. Each of us, from the youngest to the oldest, is valued, treasured, and loved.

We look forward to welcoming you into our family.

God Bless,

Fr. Dustin Schultz,

Pastor, St. Patrick Church of Merna
Pastor, St. Mary Church in Downs

New Parishioner Registration