The Vatican has upheld the merging of six Roman Catholic parishes in western Fayette County, citing the declining ranks of Catholics in that region and priests to serve them, the Diocese of Greensburg reported today.
Parishioners from four of the former parishes had appealed to the Vatican, saying the parishes had solid finances and membership numbers and had just invested in improvements to their buildings.
But the Congregation for the Clergy rejected the appeals as having no “canonical basis either in law or in fact.” It added: “Clergy availability directly affects the ability of a Diocesan Bishop to provide for the care of souls, which is the principle reason for modifying parishes.”
Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt, who merged the parishes in 2013, said he was “pleased” with the upholding of the “difficult decision to merge the six parishes.”
He said the former All Saints building in Masontown would become the home for the newly merged parish, called St. Francis of Assisi Church.
The Masontown building and the former St. Thomas Church in Footedale remain in use for regular Masses and sacraments. The other four former parish buildings will be in use only for two Masses per year marking major anniversaries, Bishop Brandt said: Holy Rosary in Republic; Madonna of Czestochowa in Cardale; Our Lady of Perpetual Help; and St. Mary in Leckrone.
Peter Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1416 or on Twitter @PG_PeterSmith.