.- As many as 10 parishes may close in the Archdiocese of Chicago this year. The archbishop, Frances Cardinal George, approved the closures and the auxiliary bishop sent a letter informing parishes of their possible closure in a letter Sept. 12.
The closures, which were considered necessary due to changing demographics, lack of finances and low mass attendance, were approved after nearly two years of consultation with parishioners. Some parishes counted as few as 87 families on their rolls.
Parish closures do not necessarily mean church sales. Some parishes will merge with others. St. Agatha’s Parish, Blessed Sacrament, Presentation and Our Lady of Lourdes will likely become one parish cluster, but the churches will continue to be used. In another situation, St. Malachy, a primarily African- American parish, will merge with Precious Blood, a Hispanic parish.
In Austin, St. Martin de Porres will be home to St. Angela and Our Lady Help of Christians. Church officials say that while churches are closing, all schools will remain open and continue to provide social services and senior activities.
While church officials admit it will be difficult for some parishioners, they say the new organization is necessary, given fewer resources. The closures, they say, are necessary in order to continue effective ministry and outreach.