SIOUX CITY (AP) — A new plan by the Roman Catholic Church’s Sioux City Diocese will see its number of parishes cut nearly in half starting this year.
The Sioux City Journal reports that the plan, released Friday, will drop the number of parishes from 108 to 61 —nearly a 45 percent drop — in the diocese that serves 24 counties in northwest Iowa. The diocese blames lagging church attendance and a shortage of priests.
The Rev. Kevin McCoy, who serves on the diocese’s priests personnel board, says the changes will not affect any of the diocese’s schools.
The plan says 38 buildings across the diocese will be reduced to “oratory status,” meaning they will no longer hold Mass, but could continue to host special events like weddings and funerals.