More Parishes Closing & Merging In Mon Valley

DONORA (KDKA) – Catholics in the Mon Valley are coping with some new announced closings and mergers of church parishes.

The diocese blames the changes on declining population, dwindling resources and even a shortage of priests.

People attending morning Mass at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Donora have learned to adjust to change.

Some see the closing of Saint Dominic’s and the previous merging of parishes as a sign of the times.

“It’s kind of sad to see the church close, but the fact of the matter is with the economy the way it is, young people aren’t coming to church and supporting. Older people are dying off,” Helen Bednarczyk said.

“Change has to happen. The church community is not that big anymore,” Dan Cioccio said.

The diocese has also announced changes in Monongahela. Two parishes will now be merged into one with plans to close one of the churches in 24 months.

On Aug. 15, the St. Anthony and Transfiguration Parishes will merge. The new parish will be called Saint Damien of Molokai.

“When you come to have a parish that you were baptized in and had all your sacraments, it is very difficult to lose that. But as the bishop told us, his parish where he received all the sacraments it has to close,” Pat Polachek said.

Meanwhile, the Mother Mary of the Church Parish in Charleroi was formed from three parishes, but it will remain intact.


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  • Bridget Wilson

    It is unfortunate that the parishes are closing due to the lack of priests and parishoners. More people would come to the church if the Catholic Church would be willing to to renew and recognize the gifts of all. There are hundreds of women who feel called by the Spirit to Ordination and they would willing serve in these parishes.

    • Jack

      Not necessarily,

      Without getting into the reasons why the priesthood is for men only, I would like to point out the simple fact that many of the protestant denominations which allow female ministers are also experiencing 1) Shortage of available clergy and 2.) decreasing members of the congregation.

      Even if the Church had enough priests, you can’t justify maintaining a parish campus that was build for 5,000 families that now has 400 registered families without some type of adjustment.

      • Bridget Wilson

        The entire town of Donora does not have 5,000 families and there are no valid reasons why the priesthood is only for men. Of course, being unwilling to even dialogue on this issue is part of the problem.

        There are no youth groups at the churches, nothing being done to attract new members, many fallen away members that attend evangelical churches (and by the way willing to travel over 30 minutes to attend a vibrant liturgy.)

        The Catholic church cannot continue to keep its head in the sand regarding inclusion of all to ordination and the focus on rules (bow, genuflect, adore) rather than on the true needs of the people and the radical action of the Gospel.
        God Bless….

  • Shane

    If the Catholic churches would run themselves as a place of worship, rather than a business with the abundance of gold for decoration then less parishes would close.

    • KKnox

      Amen, Shane …. Amen to that !! All of a sudden, the catholic church is worried about profits, not about having a place to worship God.

    • Jack

      It’s precisely because the churches are being run as a place of worship and not as businesses that they are merging. The simple fact is that the Mon Valley (like the rest of SWPa) has had a changing demographic for the past 20 or so years. And, unlike protestant denominations, the Catholic churches in America were typically built for a specific nationality. Hence, you could have up to 5 or 6 Catholic churches within a square mile. Since most of these nationalities worked in the industries that are now gone, there is no way to maintain the level of ministry the people deserve in all these church buildings. By consolidation, you maintain the same level of ministry to a significantly smaller congregation. As for your “abundance” of gold decoration- it’s fairly obvious by that statement that you’ve never set foot in St. Dominic’s, St. Philip Neri’s, or any other Mon Valley Church.

    • Anonymous

      lol.thats so true

  • nowaybcthetruthhurts

    If only all buildings of the evil worship of the single God lie would close then true religion could be selebrated again and world peace would soon follow.

  • Eazytime

    Oh the dwindling parishoners has nothing to do with the pedofile priests and the multi millions the catholic church has paid to victims. I quit going to church years ago because all they preached was give, give give, even if you didn’t have it.It’s not about God, it’s about the money.

  • MrHOP

    So what’s going to happen (no joke intended) to the altar boys?

  • KKnox

    This is what happens when all the money collected on Sunday’s is sent over to Rome. Second, I am so glad I left the Roman Catholic faith and joined my wife’s when I got married 24 years ago. Seeing articles like this just upsets me.

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