Denver, Colo., Jan 24, 2023 / 12:15 pm
A decline in Catholic religious practice and other changes in western Washington state means parishes will have to merge so that parish life can sustain itself, the Archdiocese of Seattle said Sunday.
“The mission of the Catholic Church is at the heart of strategic pastoral planning,” Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle said Jan. 22. “To achieve our mission, we must reinvigorate the faith of our people and re-envision how we live our faith in our parish communities, which includes adapting to our current reality so that we can strengthen our relationship with Jesus, accompany one another in faith, and credibly proclaim the Gospel.”
Despite a growing overall population in western Washington, the number of practicing Catholics continues to decline, the archdiocese said in a statement. There are fewer households registered with a parish and fewer people attend Mass, receive the sacraments, and take part in parish life. From 2010 to 2019, the archdiocese said, Mass attendance fell by 11%, baptismal numbers declined by 30%, and weddings declined by 18%.
“With all of the changes that we’re facing today — globally, culturally, and within the Church — it’s very clear the status quo is no longer an option,” Etienne said.