Diocese of Buffalo to Merge a Third of its Parishes

A fact sheet available on the diocesan website says that nearly half — 49% — of parishes in the diocese have seen a decline in registered households, while 60% of parishioners are over the age of 60.

The Diocese of Buffalo announced it will be merging over a third of its 160 parishes, calling the move an effort to “reinvigorate the Catholic faith in western New York.”

Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher said in a May 28 video statement that 34% of its parishes — about 55 parishes — will be merged in a process of “rightsizing and reshaping.”

Determinations about which parishes are being shut down will be made between Aug. 15 and Sept. 1.

According to Bishop Fisher, the mergers are necessitated by a shortage of priests, declining Mass attendance, aging congregations, and financial difficulties brought on by clergy abuse lawsuits.

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