PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The International Rosary March led by Bishop David Zubik left Epiphany Church and proceeded through Downtown, praying for peace and blessings for the city.

The bishop is sending a message of hope, one day after announcing long-awaited sweeping changes in the diocese.

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After a more than five year study, parishes in a number of communities will be grouped together and merged.

“Effective on July 1st, we’re going to have five new parishes with a lot of excitement,” Bishop Zubik said.

The Comprehensive plans call for combining St. Winefred Church in Mt. Lebanon with St. Annes in Castle Shannon.

The new parish will be called St. Paul of the Cross.

Holy Wisdom Church on the North Side is one of four churches merging into the Christ Our Savior Parish.

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Five parishes in Brookline and Beechview will merge to become the St. Theresa Kolkata Parish.

Bishop Zubik says the mergers do more than guarantee survival.

“It’s really to help people come closer to Christ, to come have a more personal relationship with Him,” he said. “That’s the way that’s happening, there’s a closer relationship with those parishes, it’s the common ground of faith.”

Parishes in Greene and Lawrence County will also be merging.

The bishop also announced a plan designating five buildings as shrines, including St. Staislaus Church in the Strip District, one of the earliest Polish communities in the country.

“There’s a great deal of history around them and they’re all associated with parishes,” the bishop said. “We have an exciting team of three priests who will be taking care of these parishes and all the people who come to visit.”

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Bishop Zubik says it’s all part of their ongoing effort in being “On Mission For The Church Alive.”