The Cleveland Catholic Church has taken the next step in a program to slim down its eight county parish system. Bishop Richard Lennon has sent a letter to each of the region's 231 parishes. In it, he identifies 69 church clusters that will decide the future size of the Diocese. ideastream's David C. Barnett has more.
Bishop Lennon announced an initial "clustering" of parishes, last February. The idea was to create groups of churches that were near each other or had similar programs that they could share. This comes at a time when a dwindling number of priests are ministering to congregations that have grown in some areas and left other places due to population shifts. Parishes that didn't like the proposed groupings were given time to register their complaints, and over the past several months, a 35-member task force has been conducting what has been characterized as an "intense review" of the objections. Yesterday, the Bishop acknowledged that some parishes would be closed, but he said there is no list of buildings to be shuttered. Rather, one third of the clusters have been asked to...as the bishop put it... "downsize". He has given them a year to work that out among themselves. After that time, the clusters in question will submit a reduction plan to the Diocese to review. David C. Barnett, 90.3.