ST. JOSEPH COUNTY – A St. Joseph County Church is in steep financial trouble.
Little Flower Catholic Church on Ironwood needs more money coming in to continue its services.
If the church doesn't get the money it needs in 8 months, it may face major cutbacks.
The church says it's had some major unexpected expenses, but they also say less families are attending the parish.
WSBT is told about 700 families attend the church right now.
And all 700 of those need to contribute to keep this church afloat.
For more than 70 years, it's been a place of worship in South Bend.
They sent a letter to parishioners earlier this month:
"Bottom line: Weekly collections no longer cover operating expenses. We are using our savings to make ends meet. At this rate, our savings will be fully depleted in 6 to 8 months."
Boiler and sewer repairs have put them in the red, and they've had to fulfill retirement and severance packages.
But they say they've also lost many families, mainly in response to the non renewal of contracts for some long standing parish members.
The parish manager says the church will not close its doors. They're developing a financial plan to increase income and still reduce expenses.
But reducing expenses will prove to be a challenge.
They're already down a number of staff positions and they rely mostly on volunteers day to day to get by.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend said it's too early to have a conversation with the church. They say when churches are in financial trouble, parishioners usually step up and contribute. So, we'll have to see if they in fact step up in the next few months.
The pastor at Little Flower, Father Jeffery Largent, wasn't available to speak with us on Friday.