Shuttered Churches/Parish Consolidation



We have three churches in our group. I think part of the problem is that they are not the same size or even near. One is quite small and fairly near a big church on the other side, so we all assume that it will close. One church in our group is med.-small, but we are all supposed to pretend that it is in the same league as the biggest church, which dwarfs the medium-sized one by ten or more times. I guess there is not much that the priests can do about all of this. It just seems as if this grouping was set up to insure hard feelings one way or another.

On a more cheerful note, as a fairly recent convert, I am becoming accustomed to the fact that Catholics go to different churches fairly regularly. I get a little annoyed with my grouping, but there is nothing stopping me from going in the other direction to one of two other churches who make up their own different group. And if I drop my envelope for St. Big Church in the collection basket of another church, it will be sent back to my own parish. That’s a pretty good deal! This is something I never saw or heard of as a Lutheran–going to a church besides my own.


The five parishes here in my hometown of 18000 people consolidated into one parish but we use all 5 buildings for masses on the weekdays and two of them for weekday masses.


It can depend on the area. I know some places where people would never step foot in Parish B because they belong to Parish A, even if the two parishes are within walking distance.

I’ll never forget the time a priest (who had been pastor of a few parishes, and one of them was actually closing) told me that someone from the parish that was remaining open told him to his face “I hope they [i.e. the members of the parish that was closing] don’t think they can come here [i.e. to _her_ parish that was remaining open].” Some Catholics do get peculiarly territorial.


That’s remarkable, particularly if the 5 churches were pretty close to each other. Here in Pittsburgh a lot of church buildings were sold after consolidations.


I went to a great brewery/restaurant in Pittsburgh that used to be a church. Honestly, it felt a bit strange to be eating my peirogies facing an altar that now has the beer set up there… But the food was delicious!


My little town of has been closing and consolidating…it is sad.

Growing up in the late 60’s & 70’s and 80’s the town had a huge Catholic population.
Especially on the west side where I am from.
Now they are closing and consolidating…daily mass is a moving target.


The Church Brew Works? I could never bring myself to go. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: I know that parishes close and that they follow the proper procedure to “decommission” the building, but it still kind of weirds me out. :laughing:


That is the one. Really good food and beer, but yes, weird to think of a holy place now being a brewery.


I guess going to the Altar Bar night club (another decommissioned church) just down the road a mile or so would be out of the question too? Or living in the Angel Arms condominium?


Well now, the Angel Arms condominium might actually be somewhere I would look into living, especially if any of it has retained a church look.


The exterior certainly has.


I remember a few years back - wanted to go into a warm church - pray -
so I went on my car device - and typed in church - one was 4 miles away !
I drove there - found it - but got the strangest vibe - yup - condos. Ugly too.
No parking - the big front door - had all these narrow mailboxes - and buzzers.
I circled the building - shocked - total disbelief - shaking my head -
some punks were outside smoking cigarettes - car jacking ?


A small town that I drive through en route to work had a parish plus one in a village a mile away. The village church which is modish, was shuttered recently. It’s 100-year-old elementary school had been torn down about two years ago.


I live in a southern state and my diocese enlarged existing churches or builds additional churches frequently. We have a large influx of Catholics moving down from the northern states and a large population of migrants from South America so many of our churches are bursting st the seams. It’s a nice problem to have :grinning:


Clearly more guitar masses are needed!


We attend Mass at a parish which had a guitar Mass. It has since been shuttered.

The modish church built on the site of my baptism and my parent’s marriage has been having a number of issues since it was constructed. The odors/fumes from the wall-to-wall carpeting was irritating. The floor settled unevenly, requiring $100,000 to remedy. A deer crashed through the office/rectory window a few years ago. Now the metal cross, set at the focal point of the 35-year-old building is corroded and part of it already fell off and went through the roof. They added on a general purpose center which required the closure of a nearby street and demolishing of a nearby business property. A bronze “life-size” statue of the patron saint was set in front of the edifice–though no one knows what he looked like IRL.

Would make a dandy nightclub or banquet hall though.


I think there is a lot of wisdom in this post!

Society, as a whole has changed in many ways, and I don’t mean just morally. Most families own cars, often two. Shopping in small local corner stores has moved to large supermarts. Car travel has changed too with the interstate freeway system in many states.

Supporting large parishes in (especially) urban areas, when they were built when most people used to walk to church isn’t practical. It’s painful, deeply painful to merge them but what else would be the solution? If there is one it would be great.


How’s it go…?

Boomers: We need to listen to the Millennials!
Millennials: We want more reverent Masses, more reverent music, even chant and polyphony. We want more sacred silence. We want incense and ad orientam and altar rails and homilies that stick to Scripture!
Boomers: Hear that? They want more guitar masses!

(I’m a boomer, myself)


Yes. Parishes are being consolidated like mad in my diocese. In January, every parish (every single parish in the diocese) is going to be involved in a conosolidation.

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