Pittsburgh diocese merging Catholic churches in Mon Valley

by: Aaron Aupperlee Updated:

PITTSBURGH —

For congregations at three Mon Valley parishes, this Easter will be the last they celebrate in their church buildings.

A reorganization by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will close three church buildings and merge parishes, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik announced Sunday.

Holy Cross Parish in East Pittsburgh will merge into Good Shepherd Parish in Braddock. The Holy Cross Parish church buildings of St. Helen and St. William will close, according to the diocese.

In Monongahela, St. Anthony Church will close. Transfiguration Church on Main Street will become St. Damien of Molokai Parish.

“Now it is the time to move forward,” Zubik wrote in a letter to St. Damien of Molokai Parish. “Together, we must trust the movement of the Holy Spirit in making your parish solid in faith, firm in worship and active in loving service.”

The reorganization will happen April 28.

Zubik called the decisions difficult but said they were based on shrinking membership at the parishes and financial concerns, according to letters and statements given to the congregations. Revenue at the parishes did not cover the costs of maintaining all the church buildings.

Membership at Holy Cross dropped 45 percent from 2003 to 2012, the diocese reported. Attendance at St. Damien of Molokai Parish dropped from 885 to 690 since 2011. The dioceses considered eliminating the Monongahela parish but members pleaded to keep it open.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.