CV NEWS FEED // The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio has announced several mergers to be carried out before the end of January 2025.
The diocese announced the mergers in a press release on Sunday following a Diocesan Presbyteral Council meeting earlier this month to discuss the next stages in its Pastoral Plan.
A total of 20 parishes across the Ashtabula, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, and Trumbull Deaneries have been instructed to merge.
According to local reports, Bishop David Bonner told a priest at one of the parishes set to merge that one of his main priorities as bishop is to “walk with” each parish as they “explore new ways of living parish life.”
I am more committed than ever to the parish as a wellspring of hope, and yet I know that people are struggling to find hope in parish life itself because it is not what it used to be. As Church, we must discover anew that Christian hope is not fixed: it is dynamic, not static, not nostalgic, but forward thinking.
Begun by the late Bishop George Murry in 2019, the Pastoral plan is aimed at streamlining diocesan resources in the face of declining Mass attendance and a shortage of priests.
“Criteria include the number of parishioners and worshipers, parish finances, population shifts within the region, effective use of buildings and effective use of a limited number of priests and lay ecclesial ministers,” the press release stated.
“As a result of the pastoral plan, almost all of the diocese’s 80 parishes are now part of a collaborative unit or exist as a multi-site parish.”