By HAROLD GWIN
The final reconfiguration plan for the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is nearly in place, Bishop George V. Murry says.
“I have decided most things,” Bishop Murry said, as he participated in a doughnut-and-coffee giveaway near St. Patrick Church on Monday morning.
One parish asked to meet with him about the plan, and he will do that today and try to incorporate the parish’s suggestion into the plan, he said.
The original reorganization proposal was released in February. The final version is to be announced Friday.
The plan calls for restructuring many parishes across the diocese. Some will remain single entities, but others will be placed in collaborative units with a grouping of two or more served by one or more priests while retaining their building, pastoral and financial councils. Still others will be placed into merged units with two or more parishes forming a single new parish with a common staff.
The parishes have been cooperative and understanding, with some making their own suggestions for the mergers or collaborative ventures that they feel will best suit parishioners, Bishop Murry said.
“We are trying to accommodate as many of those as possible,” he said.
“It’s a difficult time because of the number of priests that we have and the fact that many of our Catholics are moving or have moved from the city to the suburbs. This is a time of change and transition,” he said.
The diocese has 96 priests, 113 parishes and two missions. Within four years, retirements will drop the number of priests into the 60s, he said. There are 15 men in seminary now, but that will only raise the number of priests into the mid-70’s, the bishop said.
“So what we have to do is bring parishes together so we are not wearing out our priests,” Bishop Murry said. “It’s my belief that we will emerge from this transition period a stronger diocese and be more effective in carrying out our mission throughout the Mahoning Valley and beyond.”
INITIAL DIOCESE PROPOSAL
The plan proposed in February for the reconfiguration of the Diocese of Youngstown lists single,
or stand alone parishes; collaborative units, which are a grouping of two or more parishes in which
the parishes retain separate identities but share staff , resources and programming; and merged
units, where two or more parishes form a new consolidated parish in which they are urged to as
quickly as possible choose one worship site. Bishop George V. Murry has indicated some alignments
may be changed in the final version.
Columbiana (County) Deanery
Present number of clergy, 8; proposed number of clergy, 4.
• St. Jude, Columbiana and Our Lady of Lourdes, East Palestine.
• St. Paul, Salem and St. Patrick, Leetonia.
• St. George, Lisbon; St. Agatha Mission, West Point; St. John, Summitville; St. Philip Neri, Dungannon; and St. Patrick, Salineville.
• St. Aloysius and St. Ann, East Liverpool; and Immaculate Conception, Wellsville.
Mahoning North and South Deaneries
Present number of clergy, 30; proposed number of clergy, 25, including parochial vicars. Numbers do not include St. Dominic, which is staffed by Dominican priests.
Single units: Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Joseph, Austintown; St. Charles, St. Luke and St. Edward, Boardman; St. Michael, Canfield; St. Paul the Apostle, New Middletown; Holy Family, Poland; St. Christine, Youngstown, St. Dominic, St. Columba, St. Brendan and St. Patrick, Youngstown; and Holy Rosary, Lowellville.
• St. Elizabeth; St. John the Baptist; St. Joseph the Provider; St. Lucy and St. Rose of Lima.
• Sts. Cyril & Methodius; Holy Name; and St. Mathias.
• St. Casmir and St. Stanislaus.
St. Anthony and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
St. Stephen of Hungary; Our Lady of Hungary and Sts. Peter & Paul.
St. Nicholas and Holy Trinity, Struthers. Immaculate Conception and Sacred Heart, Youngstown.
• St. Catherine, Lake Milton, and St. James, North Jackson.
Trumbull (County) Deanery
Present number of clergy, 17; proposed number of clergy, 13. Numbers do not include Queen of the Holy Rosary.
Single units: St. William, Champion; St. Robert, Cortland; St. Patrick, Hubbard; St. Mary and St. Joseph, Newton Falls; Queen of the Holy Rosary, Vienna; Blessed Sacrament, Warren; and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Niles.
St. Stephen, Niles and St. Mary, Mineral Ridge. St. Rose, Girard and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, McDonald.
Merged units: St. Bernadette, Masury and St. Vincent de Paul,Vienna. St. James and Sts. Cyril & Methodius, Warren. • St. Mary and St. Joseph of Warren. • St. Pius X and Christ Our King, Warren.
Source: Youngstown Catholic Diocese