Yesterday, the Buffalo Diocese dropped some devastating news that they could be merging parishes in Western New York.  If so, what would happen next?

The Buffalo Diocese Is Struggling

Catholics across Western New York at waiting to find out what will happen to many of the parishes in the Buffalo Diocese after an announcement on Tuesday that they are considering merging many of them.
It's no secret that the Buffalo Diocese is struggling after a major sex scandal and having to file Chapter 11 to stay afloat.  Now, they're trying to come up with even more solutions as the troubles continue.  They cited low attendance, aging congregations, and a significant priest shortage as additional reasons for their recent plan.

What is the proposed plan?

The announcement yesterday was that the diocese was considering scaling back the number of parishes to help with their limited resources.  It's something that they've already done in the past in what they called the "parish family model."  Unfortunately at this point, no one knows which churches this might mean will be merged.  They expect to make those determinations between August 15 and September 1, 2024.

What will happen to the churches that are merged?

One of the many questions that this creates is "What will happen to the church buildings if one parish merges with another and the building will not be used?"

Most would expect the diocese to sell them off.  Considering they are making the move due to financial issues, they would welcome the money. If they can't sell them, could they rent them to other churches who need a space to worship?  Or could they find a new way to repurpose them?  Could they become community centers or shelters for people who need them? Will they simply knock them down or abandon them?

It's heartbreaking to think about some of these incredibly beautiful buildings that our grandparents and parents put their hearts and souls into growing just being abandoned.  There's no question that people will be anxious to hear the remainder of the plan when it comes out at the end of the summer.

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