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Future Church: Pittsburgh panel recommends merging 188 parishes to less than 50

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From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh took another step toward a massive restructuring Friday with the release of recommendations for merging its current 188 parishes into 48.

The parishes would keep multiple worship sites open, although some churches would close under the recommendations, which come under a restructuring process launched by Bishop David Zubik and titled On Mission for the Church Alive.

But the parishes would each come under a new, streamlined administration designed to cope with declining ranks of priests and worshipers, with the hope of creating fewer but stronger parishes that would be better equipped at outreach.

The dramatic moves were recommended by a diocesan panel called the On Mission Commission.

The commission’s recommendations represent the latest step in a long planning process. They will be reviewed by more diocesan boards in the coming months before Bishop Zubik announces final decisions in April.

“These recommendations are not final decisions,” said the announcement, posted on a diocesan website and to be inserted in church bulletins this weekend.

Pittsburgh Catholic, the diocesan newspaper, includes this: 

Kathy Buechel, chairwoman of the On Mission Commission, reflected upon the work that had been undertaken as she presented the recommendations to Bishop Zubik.

“All of the groupings were informed by what we learned at the district and parish meetings throughout the diocese,” she said. “This work was far more discerning, nuanced and responsive to feedback and concerns than we might have ever imagined at the beginning. This was not the product of a rubber stamp process or foregone conclusions. It was Spirit-filled and solid.”

Read more details. 

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Deacon Greg Kandra
The Deacon's Bench
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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