Tiny Bellflower faith community merged into Sacred Heart Parish, Farmer City

The white frame church of St. John the Evangelist in Bellflower was built along the Illinois Central Railroad in 1899. It will continue to host Masses on Christmas and Easter.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has announced a series of changes to parish and church status effective this month, including the merger of the smallest faith community of the diocese — St. John the Evangelist, Bellflower  — into Sacred Heart Parish, Farmer City.

The five families of the Bellflower mission “have already incorporated themselves into the life of the community,” said Father James Henning, OFM Conv., pastor, noting that Masses have only been celebrated on Christmas and Easter at St. John the Evangelist Church for several years.

“Basically, it’s an administrative move,” he told The Catholic Post of the transition that takes effect this Sunday, Jan. 15.

Bishop Jenky also transferred Sacred Heart Parish in Farmer City from the Champaign Vicariate to the Bloomington Vicariate, effective Jan. 1. Sacred Heart will continue to provide assessment to The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign.

The former St. Francis of Assisi Church in Kewanee.

The former St. Francis of Assisi Church in Kewanee.

Meanwhile, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Kewanee will be relegated to profane use effective Jan. 15. The church has not been utilized for two years, according to Father Johndameseni Zilimu, pastor of Saint John Paul II Parish in Kewanee.  The new designation opens options for future actions regarding the church, built in 1975. Father Zilimu will meet with the parish council and building and grounds committees in the coming days to explore those options, which might include selling the property, use by the parish for another purpose, or razing it.

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