NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Money woes continue for New York’s Catholic churches as more parishes could close next year.
Last month, church officials said 112 of the Archdiocese of New York’s 368 parishes would be consolidated to create 55 new parishes.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, 40 new names have now been added to the list of possible closures.
Archdiocese spokesman Joe Zwilling said they want strong parishes.
“What we are doing is looking at where we have too many parishes to meet the needs of the people,” Zwilling told WCBS 880’s Peter Zwilling.
In each of the so-called “clusters,” the archdiocese is recommending the merger of two or three parishes into one.
That’s good news for one church in downtown White Plains, which would inherit a larger territory, but bad news for a church a few blocks away that would no longer have priests assigned to it.
Sandy Racanelli said her family has belonged to Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church in White Plains for 60 years, now the church is on the expanded list for possible closure, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“A little stunning. I was baptized here, my communion and I was confirmed here,” she said. “I live in Tarrytown and I work in White Plains and I come here even on Christmas and Easter. I come here too even though there are local churches near me.”
If the archdiocese has its way, the 86-year-old church would no longer be an active parish. Instead it would only be used for special occasions, leaving parishioners like Josephine Placido a little lost.
“I work in the vicinity and it’s so accessible for me at noon time to come to Mass, I think it’s very important to continue that,” she said.
Also among the parishes that are now endangered is the Church of St. Thomas More on the Upper East Side.
Those watching the trends say shifting populations and a clergy shortage are pushing the church toward larger parishes and a smaller central structure, Young reported.
“To be very crass, the cardinal has to balance his books,” said Elena Procario-Foley, Chair of Religious Studies at Iona College. “There are financial realities. There have to priests to perform, to preside at the sacraments but there aren’t enough priests.”
The archdiocese indicates no final decisions have been made, but the certaintiy is the number of parishes in the archdiocese will be shrinking more than originally anticipated.
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