PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In April, St. John Vianney held its final Mass.
In June, the announcement was made that three mergers of ten parishes would take place this summer and early fall. It is considered a sign of the times with fewer parishioners in the pews.READ MORE: Allegheny County's Last Remaining Coal-Fired Plant Bought With Plans For Sustainable Redevelopment
Plus, more consolidations and closures could be coming.
“We live in a time of change. We have to take the opportunities for change to help us to be better at what we’re about, what it means to be church,” said Bishop David Zubik.
Bishop Zubik spoke to a crowd at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland Thursday, explaining a planning initiative called “On Mission For The Church Alive.” The plan is to thoroughly look at all the schools and parishes in the Pittsburgh Diocese.Pittsburgh Best City For Baby Boomers, Housing Forecast Says
“It’s a matter of taking a look at the realities and trying to work together more closely so that we can in effect draw more people back to church,” Bishop Zubik said.
The Diocese says Mass attendance has dwindled from almost 247,000 in the year 2000 to just over 149,000 last year. There are now 59 elementary schools compared to 102 in 2000. And, K-8 enrollment in that same time period has declined from 23,000 to just 11,000.
“In each of the areas, we’re going to be taking a look at how we can make the schools stronger,” Bishop Zubik said.
The “On Mission” plan is going to take some time. The consultation process will begin in September and recommendations are due to Bishop Zubik in December of 2017.
“Those efforts, those plans are going to involve consultation with everyone involved, the pastors, the parents, the teachers,” he said.MORE NEWS: 33-Year-Old Man In Jail, Facing Charges Of Sexual Assault
Implementation of whatever decisions are made will begin in early 2018.