Catholic officials in northwest Iowa say six churches will be closed in Plymouth County and one new church will be built in LeMars to consolidate all of the congregations. One new church will be formed from parishes in LeMars, Struble, Merrill, Neptune and Ellendale. Bishop Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese announced the change.

Parishes affected make up the Le Mars Area Catholic Cluster. They include Our Lady of Assumption in Merrill; St. Joseph parishes in Ellendale; Neptune; Struble; and Le Mars and St. James in LeMars. The bishop approved the hiring of an Omaha architectural firm, the start of a new capital campaign and the hiring of a campaign manager. Until the new church is opened, each worship center will remain in use. According to the bishop, St. Joseph Worship Center in LeMars will be closed and the church razed. Once half of the needed funds are obtained, construction of the new church may begin.