SOUTH SIDE (KDKA) — A South Side church facing an uphill battle due to repairs is set to close.
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Saturday that St. Peter Church is closing for worship.
About 150 people come to the church weekly for its only Sunday mass, but now parishioners will attend mass at St. Adalbert or St. Mary of the Mount.
“We’re working on hospitality and parking ministry and just so people transition easily,” Father Michael Stumpf said. “We’ve even been looking into transportation ministry for those who may have mobility issues.”
A resource task force report said the church needs a new boiler and roof, plus the church is not handicap accessible.
In a release, the diocese said the church was closed “due to the more immediate cost of repairs to masonry and replacement of the roof and electrical system, not counting ongoing operation expenses and further repairs that would be needed in the foreseeable future.”
The Prince of Peach Parish is also $1 million in debt.
“Trying to maintain the staff and the structures, those are the two major expenses,” Stumpf said. “And what happens is you end up spending all of your resources, the resources that become more and more limited, on just maintaining.”
Some parishioners will be mourning as they cut ties with the church they’ve attended since it opened in the 1950s.
“This is loss for the Catholic community here for sure,” Stumpf said. “But particularly those who’ve made this their home, whose heritage is here.
The church is one of many in the diocese impacted by closures and merges.
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But Stumpf believes it is also a reflection of the South Side, which is now known for its party atmosphere.
“It’s a wake-up call to come back to who we are in our roots,” he said. “As well as to ask ourselves the hard-hitting questions of what do we need to do to share that message of the gospel of love and mercy and justice with a new culture and a new world.”
The last Sunday mass at St. Peter will be Jan. 12.