Pittsburgh Catholic diocese launches new initiative as it faces decline in parishioners, priests

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese launches new initiative as it faces decline in parishioners, priests

[The “springtime” of Vatican II continues to come to the Pittsburgh, PA, diocese – the latest round]

Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2016
By Frances Borsodi Zajac | Pittsburgh Herald-Standard

Facing a decline in parishioners and priests, Bishop David Zubik announced the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is undergoing a diocesan-wide planning initiative that may call for the closing of some churches and schools …

Zubik spoke at media breakfast Friday morning at Lawless Hall at St. Mary of Mercy Church in downtown Pittsburgh where fact sheets were provided on state of the diocese that shows fewer people attending Mass, fewer priests to serve them and aging buildings without financial resources to care for them.

Figures released by diocese show the Catholic population within its borders has dropped from 753,147 in 2000 to 632,138 in 2015 while the number of priests in active ministry decreased from 338 to 225. It’s projected the number of priests will fall to 112 by 2025.
Media sheets noted involvement in church life has steadily declined in the diocese’s 199 parishes through these years.

“In 2000, about 247,000 people attended Mass weekly. By 2015, that number had fallen by 40 percent to about 149,000. The number of parishioner weddings fell 48 percent, from 3,258 in 2000 to 1,693 in 2015. In the same period, infant baptisms declined 47 percent,’’ the diocese reported.

“Many of our parishes are struggling financially. Overall giving has remained stable due to the generosity of many parishioners. However, operating costs continue to increase as participation decreases. Currently, nearly half of the parishes run annual deficits, up from one-third three years ago, and are rapidly depleting their savings,’’ according to the diocese.

The diocese noted that many people have lost their connection to the Church and attending Mass and practicing the faith “is no longer a strong, driving force in America.’’

More at www.heraldstandard.com/news/mon_valley/pittsburgh-catholic-diocese-launches-new-initiative-as-it-faces-decline/article_8b1f8692-870c-544f-8e76-0bae1d3a02e5.html

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3 comments on “Pittsburgh Catholic diocese launches new initiative as it faces decline in parishioners, priests

  1. Guy Mitchell? I just love AQ — I learn about stuff I’ve never heard of before. It’s perfect for the article, too.

    The tune reminded me of this one from an old Commie pothead:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_FB9bwyp6M

    (Amazing how we can just pull up this old stuff, eh? Immortality — in some massive RAID storage in Asia.)

  2. Didn’t SSPX recently re-open a church there?

    • [Yes and made the local bishop, David Zubik (“That’s a community that has separated themselves from the church …, in a church that used to be one of our own. … There will be people who think it’s a legitimate Catholic church.”) and some outside neo-Catholics (such as Mikey Voris’ ChurchMilitant: SSPX POACHERS: The SSPX has a habit of luring the faithful away from diocesan-approved Traditional Latin Masses) go ballistic]

      SSPX resurrects St. James in Pittsburgh

      Society of Saint Pius X – District of the USA
      March 29, 2015
      sspx.org/en/news-events/news/sspx-resurrects-st-james-pittsburgh-7621

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyE-Xa7yfIM

      After years of patient research, the Society of St. Pius X has been able to acquire and renovate a real church in Pittsburgh. St. James is from now on the center of Tradition in Pittsburgh, PA.

      On Saturday, March 28, 2015, the Society of St. Pius X triumphantly re-dedicated the church of St. James in Pittsburgh, PA, Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, the First Assistant of the SSPX, was on hand to lead the solemn ceremonies, blessing the interior and exterior of the building, as well as the altar. One of the prayers used in this rare liturgy, at the conclusion of the ceremonies, sums up the mind of the Church on such an occasion:

      God, who dost sanctify the places dedicated to Thy name, pour forth Thy grace upon this house of prayer, so that all who here invoke Thee, may experience Thine assistance.”
      On the hand for the occasion were all the former pastors of what was formerly Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, including one who flew from England for the occasion. Fr. Pfluger celebrated the first Mass after the dedication of the Church with Fr. Wegner, the District Superior, as deacon, and Fr. Gerard Beck, the First Assistant to Fr. Wegner and former pastor in Pittsburgh, as subdeacon.

      In his sermon, Fr. Pfluger recalled the symbolism of the word “church” and how it’s consecrated as a place “set aside” for God and His work. He further explained that the sense of the Church can be lost in the current crisis, but that we must remember the Church exists triumphantly in Heaven and that we are part of a Communion of Saints that stretches back to Our Lord Himself. The local paper (the Pittsburgh Tribune Review) featured the Society on the front page of their Saturday edition with a headline referring to the participants as “rogue Catholics”; the question might be asked in which Catholic churches the saints of previous centuries would feel most at home!

      Fr. Patrick Rutledge, the current pastor, said that over 550 souls attended the blessing and Mass on Saturday, a record number for the Society in Pittsburgh. The number of priests and benefactors who helped make St. James a reality are too numerous to mention here. But what better sign is there of the Society’s work and fidelity to Tradition than to return a Catholic church to its original purpose? Thanks be to God!

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