By Bob Allen

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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