Big changes to St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese to be announced Saturday

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Jennifer Crutchley has been a member of St. John the Beloved Disciple Parish in Imperial since 2004. Her parish is scheduled to merge with Good Shephard Parish in Hillsboro and share a priest.

That’s just one of many changes expected when Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski announces a major reorganization of the 178 parishes on Saturday.

“Yes, it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be hard in the beginning. At the end of the day, it’s going to be better for the Catholic faith within the Catholic Archdiocese,” said Crutchley.

The changes come amid concerns over a shortage of priests in the region and in an effort for the Archdiocese to consolidate its resources.

“One is shifting demographics, so people don’t live where they lived 10, 20 years ago. We also have priest availability. We know we’re not going to have the same number of priests that we have today that we’re going to have 10 years from now,” said Father Chris Martin, vicar for strategic planning for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. “And we’re looking at different things like traffic patterns and where housing developments are kind of going up.”

Preliminary information released by the diocese said some of the parishes will merge into pastorates. And that some schools would be closed or relocated.

A church preservation organization called Save Rome of the West says it plans to appeal the closing of churches in order to preserve the buildings to be used as churches in the future. The organization said it tried to meet with the Archdiocese, but a meeting never happened.

“We understand that there are certain cases where you may need to consolidate or merge a parish. We’re not trying to work against that process. We’re just trying to keep sacred space from being turned profane,” said Jason Bolte.

Archbishop Rozanski is scheduled to lay out details of the reorganization plan Saturday at 5:30 p.m.