The Archdiocese of New York announced Sunday that 31 churches across the city and nearby counties will not be holding regular services after August 2015.
Additionally, 48 parishes will merge with nearby parishes, creating 24 new parishes that will celebrate mass and sacraments at both churches. Another 48 parishes will merge with a nearby parish, creating 24 parishes, with mass celebrated at only one of the churches on a regular basis.
“This time of transition in the history of the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge. There will be many who are hurt and upset as they experience what will be a change in their spiritual lives, and I will be one of them,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan in a media release. “It will be our responsibility to work with everyone in these parishes so as to help make the change as smooth as we possibly can.”
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Nine of the churches that will stop holding worship services are in Manhattan. In both the Bronx and Westchester, six churches will close, and four on Staten Island. An additional six churches in Rockland, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties will close.
The process, called “Making All Things New,” began in 2010, and aims to improve Catholic education, reach Hispanic Catholics and recent immigrant groups, use technology, target youth and perform charity work, especially with affordable housing.
There are currently 368 parishes in the New York City area. Dolan made the decisions based on recommendations received from the parishes, a 40 person advisory committee, the priest council and other advisors.