Detroit Catholic Churches To Close, Parishioners Receive Letter From Archbishop Allen Vigneron

02/17/2012 01:30 pm ET

The Archdiocese of Detroit will officially announce the fate of the area's Catholic churches Monday, but some parishioners are already finding out whether their churches will stay open.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron sent letters this week to pastors and 270,000 Catholic households in the six-county archdiocese this week detailing coming plans as part of the church's "Together in Faith II" initiative. The plan looks to realign the church's resources in view of an expected shortage of priests, whose numbers will be down 30 percent in the next 10 years.

The archdiocese comprises a total of 270 Catholic churches, with more than 50 Detroit parishes. In November, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council recommended shuttering 48 churches, with eight planned to close in the next five years. Three of the first to close are in Detroit: St. Luke, St. Leo and St. Anthony (Lithuanian).

According to the Detroit Free Press, about 35 percent of the city's parishes are having financial difficulties. The paper reported some are worried about larger ramifications of closing urban parishes -- disproportionately affecting African American churchgoers, hurting communities and cutting more ties between the city and suburbs.

Vigneron met with the Council in November. The group used the input of hundreds of laypeople and parish data, both sacramental and financial, to make recommendations.

Detroit Archdiocese Spokesman Joe Kohn said Friday the group was addressing planned changes first with pastors and parishioners and would not comment further on details of Monday's announcement.

Vignernon will officially announce the results of archdiocese planning on Monday afternoon, and the information will be available on the organization's website that evening.


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