The mergers will go into effect in January.By Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced over a dozen new church mergers, now reducing the number of parishes from 107 to 81.

Bishop David Zubik announced the news on Saturday, saying 40 parishes across Southwestern Pa. will be part of these mergers — creating a total of 14 new parishes.

In a letter sent to parishioners, Zubik said this has not been a simple task.

Zubik went on to say that these mergers will ultimately position the new parishes in a better spot when it comes to addressing financial needs, sharing resources and allowing clergy to focus on spiritual work.

He also encouraged parishioners to warmly welcome this change. The mergers will take place on Jan. 4, 2021.

“I think with population shifts, it’s important to take a look at making sure our churches are vibrant,” said Bishop Zubik.

Sue Reed is a parishioner at St. Simon and Jude Parish in Scott Township, which is one of the 40 that are merging.

“We can be one parish,” said Reed.

These mergers are part of the ongoing On Mission for the Church Alive initiative, a strategic plan designed to help parishes mobilize their resources to prioritize mission over maintenance.

“The first part of the initiative is to help people develop a deeper relationship with Jesus by developing a deeper relationship with each other,” said Zubik.

Saint Simon and Jude will be merging with Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie and Saint Margaret of Scotland in Green Tree, and will be known as Saint Raphael the Archangel.

Reed said she sympathizes with Bishop Zubik and understands that these decisions aren’t easy to make.

“He’s tried to include parishioners as much as possible in decisions to try and do it slowly so it’s a gradual and easy decision for all of us,” said Reed.

What will happen to the church buildings?

“A number of parishes where there are more than one church building, they’ll have to assess what in fact will be necessary for the congregation to come together and worship as well as a lot of the other parish activities,” said Zubik.

The full list of mergers can be seen below:

  • Mary, Queen of Peace (Mount Washington/South Side), which brings together the parishes of Saint Mary of the Mount (Mount Washington) and Prince of Peace (South Side);
  • Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Coraopolis/Crescent/Moon), which brings together the parishes of Saint Catherine of Siena (Crescent), Saint Joseph (Coraopolis) and Saint Margaret Mary (Moon Township);
  • Our Lady of Hope (Bethel Park/South Park/Whitehall), which brings together the parishes of Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin (Whitehall), Saint Germaine (Bethel Park), Nativity (South Park) and Saint Valentine (Bethel Park);
  • Our Lady of the Valley (Beaver/Freedom/New Brighton/Rochester), which brings together the parishes of Saint Cecilia (Rochester), Saint Felix (Freedom), Holy Family (New Brighton) and Saints Peter and Paul (Beaver);
  • Resurrection (Bethel Park/Upper Saint Clair), which brings together the parishes of Saint John Capistran (Upper Saint Clair) and Saint Thomas More (Bethel Park);
  • Saint Catherine Laboure (South Park/Upper Saint Clair), which brings together the parishes of Saint Joan of Arc (South Park) and Saint Louise de Marillac (Upper Saint Clair);
  • Saint Clare of Assisi (Carbon Center/Chicora/North Oakland), which brings together the parishes of Saint Joseph (North Oakland), Mater Dolorosa (Chicora) and Saint Wendelin (Carbon Center);
  • Saint Faustina (Northern Butler County), which brings together the parishes of Saint Alphonsus (Boyers/Murrinsville/West Sunbury), Saint Christopher (Prospect) and Saint Peter (Slippery Rock);
  • Saint Francis of Assisi (Cabot/Coylesville/Herman), which brings together the parishes of Saint John (Coylesville), Saint Joseph (Cabot) and Saint Mary of the Assumption (Herman);
  • Saints Joachim and Anne (Elizabeth/Glassport/South Allegheny area), which brings together the parishes of Saint Mark (Liberty Borough/Port Vue), Saint Michael (Elizabeth) and Queen of the Rosary (Glassport);
  • Saint Jude (Morningside/Shadyside/Stanton Heights), which brings together the parishes of Saint Raphael (Morningside/Stanton Heights/Upper Lawrenceville) and Sacred Heart (Shadyside);
  • Saints Martha and Mary (Hampton/Richland), which brings together the parishes of Saint Catherine of Sweden (Hampton Township) and Saint Richard (Richland Township);
  • Saint Matthew (Etna/Glenshaw/Millvale/Reserve), which brings together the parishes of All Saints (Etna), Saint Aloysius (Reserve Township), Saint Bonaventure (Glenshaw) and Holy Spirit (Millvale);
  • Saint Raphael the Archangel (Carnegie/Green Tree/Scott), which brings together the parishes of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (Carnegie), Saint Margaret of Scotland (Green Tree) and Saints Simon and Jude (Scott Township).