Chicago, Ill., Mar 31, 2021 / 18:01 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Amid a plan to merge and close dozens of parishes, the Archdiocese of Chicago has disproportionately closed parishes that minister to black Catholics due to low attendance, according to an archdiocesan official.
“There have been disproportionate numbers of closings in the Black Catholic community, but this is going on all across the Diocese,” Cliff Barber, chief strategy officer of the archdiocese, said in a March 29 interview with the Chicago Crusader, a publication that focuses on the African American community.
“There has been some shared pain here, but it’s just been disproportionate in the Black Catholic community.”
Barber also heads the archdiocese’ Black Catholic Initiative, which seeks to support the Black Catholic community in the city. Barber said there are about 6,000 Mass-attending Black Catholics in the archdiocese, heavily concentrated in the south and west sides of the city.
The Chicago archdiocese has been closing and merging parishes for several years, with the latest round of mergers announced March 9-10.