Waiting for big news

Bishop Zubik signs decrees establishing 14 new parishes in the diocese.

After months of hard work preparing to bring together their parish communities, clergy and parishioners are about to get an important update.

On November 28-29, Bishop David Zubik is expected to announce the establishment of 14 new parishes, created from the merger of 40 parishes, and he will reveal the new parish names. The changes take effect in January.

“Our bishop has a vision of vibrant parishes with effective ministries; faith communities of warm hospitality that are epicenters of evangelization and service,” said Linda Ritzer, diocesan secretary for parish services. “By merging parishes, human and financial resources are aligned to fortify efforts for the real work of bringing people closer to Jesus.”

The newest group of soon-to-be-merged parishes stretches across the diocese, from northern Butler County and Beaver County, to Pittsburgh neighborhoods and communities in the North, East and South Hills of Allegheny County and the west suburbs.

Ritzer said leaders in the 14 parish groupings have focused on collaboration, communication and centralization. Clergy and laity worked together to engage parishioners in proposing new parish names, while preparing virtual parish assemblies and collecting feedback.

Communication has been key during the pandemic, keeping parishioners informed through online and traditional channels. The groupings are also centralizing parish operations. Some will have one office, others a main office with satellite locations, depending on their needs.

The parish mergers follow extensive consultation with parishioners, who expressed an understanding that their faith communities are changing. They also indicated a strong desire to provide for the sick and elderly, strengthen ministry to younger Catholics, and extend outreach to those who currently are not practicing the faith.