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Posted June 24, 2009

Where Have All the Parishes Gone?

The list of dioceses experiencing closings and mergers in recent years is growing, according to Catholic News Service reports:

-- Boston: 65 of 267 parishes closed or merged in 2004 and 2005.

-- Camden, N.J.: 56 of 124 parishes to merge starting in 2009.

-- New York: 10 parishes closed and 11 others merged in 2007.

-- Syracuse, N.Y.: 36 of 173 parishes closed since 2006, with another 17 set to close as pastors retire.

-- Allentown, Pa.: 47 of 151 parishes closed in 2008.

-- Greensburg, Pa.: 15 of 100 parishes closed in 2008.

-- Scranton, Pa.: more than 100 parishes closing or merging between 2008 and 2012.

Overall, data compiled by the Official Catholic Directory show that the number of parishes peaked in 1992 at 19,971. In the 2009 edition of the directory, which reflects information gathered in 2008, there were 18,674 parishes, a decline of 1,297 (6.5 percent) in 15 years.

The directory lists information only on the number of parishes and does not indicate how many actually closed and how many parishes opened in a given year.