ST. LOUIS – Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski announced a major plan Saturday over the future footprint of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis will be reshaped from 178 individual parishes into 134 parishes. The parishes will be overseen by nearly 90 diocesan pastors and 17 religious order priests.

Archbishop Rozanski said these decisions come after two years of gathering data, feedback and input through the “All Things New” initiative. He tells FOX 2 that a declining number of priests and Catholics attending mass, as well as a shift in where Catholics live, factored into the restructuring.

“Without these changes, we predict that we will have more parishes than diocesan priests by 2025,” said Archbishop Rozanski.

He said this decision was made after gathering feedback through surveys, listening sessions, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings. The Archbishop said they received responses from 70,000 local Catholics.

“I wish these changes were not necessary, but it is what we are called to do at this moment. And all the data, input and feedback affirm this,” he said.

Some parishioners do not agree with this plan.

“We want alternatives. We want to seek alternatives to the same sort of big box, mega church merger plan that has been implemented in other diocese,” said Ken Battis, President of Save Our St. Louis Parishes.

Implementation of these plans will begin as early as August of this year and may continue through 2026. There is also an appeals process. Parishioners have until June 12 to submit an appeal. The appeal needs to be in writing, but not handwritten.