Because of a substantial decline in the number of priests and Catholics attending Mass, the Diocese of Pittsburgh is planning to consolidate its 188 parishes into 48 groups. The plan now goes to the bishop for a decision, which will take place after Easter 2018, with implementation to begin in the fall of that year. According to diocesan spokesman, Bob Dewitt, “It’s not just about reshuffling. It’s about what we can do to reverse the trends.”
A report by Peter Feuerherd in the National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 27, 2017) gives statistics on the situation in Pittsburgh.
The report notes that the Catholic population has declined from 753,147 in 2000 to 632,138 today. In just 17 years, weekend Mass attendance has declined from 246,896 to 138,888. The number of marriages is down, 3,258 to 1,692, and infant baptisms, Catholic school students, and confirmation of young people are down by nearly half in this century.
Half of Pittsburgh’s parishes experience operating deficits. The number of diocesan priests in active ministry has declined in this century from 338 to 211, and is projected to be at 112 by 2025.
For the entire NCR report, click here.