FORT DODGE, Iowa — A fundraising campaign is underway to consolidate the two remaining Catholic churches in Webster County into one large church.

The proposed church with over 1,000 seats would create a unified campus for Holy Trinity Parish which covers the entire county, The Messenger ( ) reports. The two remaining churches, Sacred Heart and Corpus Christi, are located in Fort Dodge. The new church is estimated to cost nearly $10 million.

Just under $5 million has been raised for the church so far.

The new facility would be the first single-site church for this particular parish. Monsignor Kevin McCoy said leaders have been planning the consolidation for quite some time, and that the parish has seen a significant reduction in the number of priests over the years.

A single church for the parish’s 2,700 Catholic households has been in discussion for at least 10 years. McCoy said at one point there were 12 priests in Webster County, but there are currently two priests serving the entire county.

The eight remaining parishes in Webster County were combined into Holy Trinity in 2008.

The Sioux City Diocese covers 24 counties, but only 56 priests. McCoy said that within 15 years, 33 priests could retire and that there are only 12 men in seminary in the process of becoming priests.

“So what we now have been working on is responding to that challenge, of how do we provide efficient facilities for Holy Trinity Parish?” McCoy said.

Information from: The Messenger,