Important demographic shifts that include growth and expansion in New York and surrounding area have pushed the Archdiocese of New York to create a major reorganization plan for parishes, schools and other church organizations. The archdiocese has nearly completed the first draft of the plan.
A 50-person representative panel, comprising priests, nuns, parishioners, business leaders and community members, is expected to review the plans and offer feedback. Some advisers to Cardinal Edward Egan will first view the plans. The archbishop has identified the reorganization as his top priority, archdiocesan spokesperson Joseph Zwilling told The Journal News.
The demographic shifts have made the reorganization necessary. In some areas, like Manhattan for example, there are near-empty churches, while other parishes in growing counties are out of space. With the growth, there is also a decreasing number of priests.
It's expected that some churches and schools will be closed, while others will merge. Priests may be reassigned, some forming pastoral teams that will minister to several parishes.
People involved in the process are aware that the closing of parishes and schools is a very sensitive issue for communities and will tread with great compassion.
Lawrence McCrudden, a lay member of the panel, told The Journal News that while some parishes will close there hasn’t been any mention of selling the church buildings. Rather, they will likely be leased since the archdiocese is not sure whether they will be needed again in the future.