2013 SOPC News

1000 Holland parishes to close by 2025 

Cardinal Willem Eijk warned Pope Francis at an ad limina visit last December that two thirds of Holland's 1500 parishes will close by 2025.   Elk cited "drastic secularization" and dwindling congregations and collections, though the number of priests has dropped by 25% in the past eight years. Currently there are standing at 743 priests for 1500 parishes. (The Tablet 12/4/13)

Philadelphia Archdiocese to close or merge 72 parishes

Citing declining membership, the Archdioces of Philadelphia has announced plans to merge or close a total of 72 parishes. "I have not faith in it," said Carol Ann Houmeidan, who attends one of the parishes named. "I do believe it's gonna be closed...." (Philadelphia Inquirer 6/4/13 and David Change, NBC Channel 10 9/17/13).

St James Saved

A year later more than a year after Bishop Richard Lennon reversed his decision to close St. James Parish in Lakewood, Ohio membership is steadily climbing.  And activies at the Detroit Avenue parish are in full swing (Lakewood Patch 9/3/2013).  

More lay ministers lead funerals in France

A recent Catholic survey in France found that 32 percent of church funeral services are conducted without a priest, compared to 19 percent just five years ago.  The number of priests in France has decreased by roughly half over the past 15 years. (The Tablet 11/2/13).  

Priest numbers halved in Galloway, Scotland 

In The Diocese of Galloway has released figures showing the number of priests has more than halved since 1990, with the fall in churchgoers nearly as steep. Across the diocese, which covers most of southwest Scotland, there is currently one priest for every two churches. In 1990 it had 55 priests for 53 churches. There are now 23 priests for 43 churches. The diocese has told parishioners that the situation is "no longer sustainable" and calls for "changes in mindset, in expectation and in structures", an indication that many long-standing churches may have to be closed. (Scotland Sunday Herald 12/11/13 )

Shortage of priests in Coalisland Parish an opportunity says Fr Byrne

Parishioners return for first Mass in the Diocese of Youngstown at closed church since 2011

A Timely Heads Up for Local Catholics

Immaculate Conception Church appeal reaches pointiff

For Artifacts from Closed Churches, an Afterlife on Staten Island

Philadelphia to merge 27 parishes 

On Sunday June 2, the Archdioceses of Philadelphia announced it would merge 27 parishes into ten citing demographic shifts, declining Mass attendance and a decrease in clergy. The decision is leaving some parishioners at St. Leo parish dismayed: “It’s leaving a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth,” said one parishioner. “... Never once have I ever questioned my faith until now. And it’s not so much that I’m questioning my faith - .... I’m questioning the people who are in charge, making decisions.” (Philadelphia Inquirer 6/2/13) 

Canadians protest church closing

 In mid-May about 30 parishioners from Immaculate Conceptiop parish in Sydney, Nova Scotia protested a decision to close their church. The Diocese of Antigonish is closing about a dozen churches, citing a shrinking population, a declining number of priests and financial shortfalls. Alma Ashe, a parishioner for over 80 years, had this to say: “How can one person come and tell you they’re taking the church? They don’t own the church. They never paid the upkeep. As poor as some of the people were, they gave [to the] collection.” The protest ended after officials from the diocese agreed to meet with the group. (Canadian Broadcasting Company News, 5/23/13).

Chicago Catholics appeal planned church demolition

On Easter Sunday, members of St. James Catholic Church braved gray skies and chilly weather Sunday to protest the demolition of their beloved 132-year-old parish. The “Friends of Historic St. James,” a group of parishioners and architectural preservationists trying to save the building are pleading with the Archdiocese to work with them to save the building. They have appealed to Rome and are awaiting a decision (Chicago Tribune, 4/30/13).

Half of Saginaw churches to reduce services 

At a January press conference, Saginaw Bishop Joseph Cistone announced his intent to reorganize the diocese’s 109 parish communities reducing services at 53 churches. Some will stop holding regular services altogether. Some parishioners are appealing the decision (Michigan Live, 1/20/13).