DETROIT
02/21/2012 01:33 pm ET

Detroit Catholic Churches Closing, Archbishop Allen Vigneron Explains Restructuring

Archbishop Allen Vigneron released the Archdiocese of Detroit's new parish reorganization plan Monday, announcing mergers and closures that will impact 53 local churches in the metro Detroit area.

The changes to the region's 50 parishes and 270 churches come after nearly a year of planning from the "Together in Faith II" initiative, which involved input from 1,500 Catholic parishioners as well as clergy from the diocese's six counties.

Under the plan, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Harper Woods and St. Donald's Parish in Roseville will close, and eight other churches will combine into four churches by the end of the year.

The rest have individual plans. Others are scheduled to be merged or must develop financial plans to avoid merger or closing, the Free Press reports.

St. Leo's in Detroit will merge with St. Cecilia's, but its congregation will be kept intact. St. Anthony's and St. Luke's in Detroit are expected to merge with suburban congregations.

Church officials say the changes are the result of the archdiocese's shrinking membership, dwindling finances and a shortage of priests.

"Half of the people in my diocese who claim to be Catholic register in their parishes. Of those half, only 30 percent come to mass every Sunday," Vigneron told WDIV.

The archdiocese estimates 1,435,000 Catholics live within its southeast Michigan boundaries.

More information about church changes can be found on the achdiocese's website.

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