ST. LOUIS – Catholic parishioners are getting a chance to voice their opinions and concerns about the Archdiocese of St. Louis’s All Things New plan. The proposed changes could mean some church closures around the area.
The archdiocese is about halfway through its listening session where they are getting feedback from church members. Officials said nothing is determined yet on which churches could merge, but people are concerned about the future.
“It’s tough, and I think that people are going pretty upset about it,” said Will O’Shea.
He is concerned about the All Things New proposal and the impact it could have on younger generations.
“Or the people who are starting families or maybe have fallen away from the church in their 20s and want to come back,” O’Shea said. “It’s tough to say, ‘Oh come back,’ welcome you in when the church right up the street from you is closed.”
Data from the archdiocese shows fewer people attending mass now, and there are fewer priests today than in the past, which affects more than 170 churches in the area. These are some of the points discussed in each parish’s listening sessions.
A statement from the archdiocese said much of the individual feedback comes from the survey parishioners after their session is completed. The survey includes open-ended questions so members can share their thoughts on the changes.
O’Shea said he plans to attend a listening session soon to share his concerns about merging some of the churches.
“Sure, geographically, it makes sense,” O’Shea said. “You know they’re close by and whatever, but at the end of the day, they’re close by. But it’s not that simple, and that’s I think the issue is the people in All Things New don’t know the area.