It appears that even more of New York’s Roman Catholic churches are about to close. Just weeks after it was reported that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York was folding 112 parishes into 55 new ones, resulting in at least 31 church closures, the New York Times reports that it’s likely that another 38 parishes are consolidating into 16:
Among the affected churches, 11 would effectively close, with no regular Masses to be celebrated there. The remaining 27 church buildings would remain open for the celebration of the sacraments after the parishes merge.
The Catholic Church has been plagued by waning attendance, a high rate of priest attrition, and general financial struggles, the Times reports. Unlike the first round of scheduled mergers, however, these proposals have taken the Catholic community by surprise:
Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, hinted last month that a small number of additional parish consolidations might occur, but his new proposals have shocked many parishioners, who received word of them only in the past few weeks.
The earlier round of mergers and closings followed more than a year of discussions between parishes and an advisory panel, which was charged with presenting recommendations about parish consolidations to Cardinal Dolan. In the new cases, however, the proposals came directly from Cardinal Dolan and other senior archdiocesan officials, who felt the advisory group had not gone far enough in recommending changes, said Joseph Zwilling, the archdiocese’s spokesman.
Dolan is now asking for the input of parishes, which have until March 1 to respond. Unless they offer a compelling case, however, the churches will likely be closed by August 15.
(Photo: Lawrence OP)