The Archdiocese of New York today announced its parish realignment decisions.  These decisions are the culmination of an extensive three-year planning process, which involved long and careful consultation. This process, established by Edward Cardinal Egan, was designed to identify the religious, spiritual, and education needs of the Catholic faithful throughout the entire Archdiocese, and determine how those needs could best be met. 

The decisions announced today differ in a number of instances from the initial recommendations announced in March 2006.  Under the leadership of Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan, Co-Vicar General of the Archdiocese of New York, all parish recommendations were meticulously evaluated through the use of demographic information, Catholic population analysis, sacramental and fiscal data, together with wide-ranging site visits to affected parishes.  This parish study was enhanced by consultation with specialists in the areas of mapping and pastoral planning.  A committee of lay, religious, and clergy, known as the Archdiocesan Realignment Advisory Panel, reviewed all of the recommendations and made valuable suggestions.   All parishes potentially affected by a realignment recommendation were given the opportunity to discuss their observations about the recommendation with Bishop Sullivan and his review committee.

Nine parishes and six missions originally recommended to be closed or to be merged with other parishes will retain their current status.  These include Saint Rita of Cascia parish in the Bronx, Guardian Angel parish in Manhattan, Saint Benedict the Moor mission in Manhattan and Blessed Sacrament mission in Orange County.

Saint Paul parish in Staten Island was originally recommended for closure, and will instead merge with Assumption parish.  Nativity parish in Manhattan was also recommended for closure, but will instead merge with Saint Teresa’s parish.  Another parish, Saint Vincent de Paul in Manhattan, will merge with Saint Columba parish with a chapel to be established, and its ministry to French-speaking Catholics transferred to other parishes in Manhattan and Westchester. 

In all, ten parishes will be closed, and eleven parishes will merge with other parishes.  For those parishes that merge, the existing church building will continue to be used for Mass, or a chapel will be established.  In addition, three missions will be closed and reunited with their sponsoring parishes.

Several parishes will remain under ongoing study, including Saint Mary’s parish and Saint Francis of Assisi parish, both in Newburgh, Our Lady of Esperanza parish in Manhattan, and Assumption parish in Tuckahoe.

Planning for the establishment of new parishes and the construction of new church buildings for existing parishes also continues.

Materials have been prepared to assist those parishes that are being affected by the realignment decisions.  These decisions will be implemented on a parish by parish basis, with a date to be established based on each parish’s particular pastoral needs. 

While the Realignment process has now concluded, the Archdiocese will continue the process of strategic planning for the spiritual good of God’s People and the strengthening of its parishes and institutions.