Peoria Diocese to Halve Number of Parishes

The Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, will have half as many parishes by 2026 as it does now, as part of a pastoral planning effort focused on helping the diocese “be more intentional in cultivating disciples.”

Bishop Louis Tylka announced on Saturday that between now and May 2026, the diocese will be reshaped from 156 parishes to 75 parishes, with 129 worship sites. The remaining parishes will be overseen by 71 diocesan and religious order pastors; 39 priests will be reassigned.

The Peoria Diocese covers 26 counties in Illinois. Out of a total population of 1.4 million, nearly 11% of that population is Catholic, the diocese says.

The decision to drastically downsize the diocese comes amid declining Mass attendance there as well as a prediction of a shrinking number of priests. Seventy percent of the 145 total priests ministering in the diocese are over the age of 50. According to the diocese’s projections, in the next 10 years, there may be fewer than 100 active priests.

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