ST. LOUIS – Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski announced his final plan for All Things New ahead of Pentecost Sunday, as expected. The archbishop said his decision to consolidate and even close some parishes comes after two years of gathering data and feedback from thousands of local Catholics.

Mass at St. Raphael the Archangel Church felt a little different Sunday morning. Tom Magee has been a parishioner there since 1994.

“We’re sorry we’re losing Father Mayo, but we understand,” Magee said. “Fr. {Thomas} Molini, I believe is coming, and by all counts, he’s a very good steward and will be an excellent pastor for our parishes.

Fr. Mayo made his announcement at the end of mass Saturday and Sunday. He has been at St. Raphael’s for five years and a priest for 14. August 1 will be his last mass, as he’s being transferred the Catholic Seminary in Shrewsbury.

“People have been very generous in coming up and just thanking me for, for my time here,” Mayo said.

There is no shortage of historic Catholic churches around St. Louis, but the archdiocese does have a shortage of priests. According to data released by the Archdiocese of St. Louis Saturday, 41% are over the age of 70. Because of the restructuring in All Things New, many pastors and priests will be doing double duty. The soon-to-be new pastor at St. Raphael will also serve at St. Gabriel.

“He’s been over here already,” Fr. Mayo said. “He’s helped out with school confessions a couple of times, so he’s already familiar with the parish.”

In addition to the new priest assignments, over the weekend Archbishop Rozanski made the announcement the Archdiocese of St. Louis will be reshaped from 178 parishes to 134. Thirty-five will close and merge into neighboring parishes, and 15 will be consolidated to create five new ones. There will also be one new parish for the Spanish-speaking community in St. Charles County.

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

Meantime, Fr. Mayo hopes to inspire the next generation of church leaders in his new role.

“It’s a weighty responsibility, and it’s really led me to just really trust in the Lord even more,” he said.

Populations are also shifting. There are fewer Catholics are in St. Louis City and 10 counties in the archdiocese, dipping below 500,000 for the first time since the 1960s. As many as 5,000 Catholics don’t go back to church after high school or college every year. Mass attendance is 25-percent below pre-COVID levels.

“Part of it is we have to take some responsibility and engage the younger people,” Magee said.

Parishioners can expect changes to start in August and continue through 2026. Decisions to Catholic parish school closures are expected this fall.

There is a two-week timeframe to submit and appeal. It must be sent, in writing, to the archbishop by June 12, per Canon law. That address is 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119. Appeals don’t have to be handwritten, just “in writing” as opposed to phone or email. In other words: typed is just fine.