ST. LOUIS – More than 3,000 Catholic parishioners continued to speak out against the Archdiocese of St. Louis All Things New restructuring plans on Wednesday. The parishioners are hoping to find a way to prevent parishes from merging or shutting down. The restructuring plans of the church have some parishioners on edge.

“They’re going to officially promulgate this on Pentecost Sunday in May, but there is no indication that they are changing,” said Dr. Bob Onder. “They’ve not shown any willingness to speak to me or to anyone else from Save Our St. Louis Parishes.”

Onder is the procurator for the group of 3,100 parishioners, who he said are from parishes across the diocese.

“That one percent was mostly by word of mouth, website, a few public events that we’ve done,” he said. “Each of that one percent had to find two witnesses to co-sign their petition.”

The All Things New website said the church has been gathering data for more than a year. It said the decreasing number of people attending church, baptisms, weddings, and new priests were some of the key reasons for the change. It also showed draft plans for merging churches, something Onder said impacts areas that are seeing growth.

“There are others that are thriving here in St. Charles County, in Franklin County, Lincoln County, Jefferson County, and yet many of those are on the chopping block too,” Onder said. “So again, if there is anything that needs to change, any parishes that need to merge or close, it needs to be a case-by-case basis.”

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of St. Louis sent the following statement about All Things New:

“From the very beginning of All Things New, we have been asking the question, “Which communities does it make most sense to have come together in light of demographic shifts, evangelization, and social outreach efforts, resources, and priest availability?”

Over the past year, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has received feedback from 70,000 parishioners across the Archdiocese through the Disciple Maker Index (DMI) Survey; hosted nearly 350 listening sessions at 178 parishes; surveyed 18,000 parish school parents, administrators, teachers, staff, donors, community partners, and volunteers; compiled sacramental, financial, and demographic statistics for every parish and school; met with community, civic, and business organizations; held focus groups; and had conversations at the deanery and parish levels, both in groups and one-on-one.

“As outlined in the All Things New process, Archbishop Rozanski has begun his discernment phase and will review the data collected before making his decisions and sharing them publicly on Pentecost,” said Fr. Chris Martin with the Archdiocese of St. Louis.