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Westchester Parishes Waiting On Word Of Closures

It was expected that Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York would announce church closures and consolidations in September.
It was expected that Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York would announce church closures and consolidations in September. Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Although the Archdiocese of New York continues to finalize possible widespread parish closures, including several in Westchester County, the first domino has yet to fall as the month draws to a close.

According to reports, as many as 50 New York Archdiocese parishes are in danger of being closed or consolidated, including locations in Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-On-Hudson, Irvington, Mamaroneck, Mount Vernon, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow and Yonkers. Initial reports late in the summer said the closures had been planned by the end of September.

There are 368 parishes in the archdiocese spread throughout 10 counties in and around New York City. Each of them has been under close scrutiny, and a formal in-depth review by a panel of 40 advisers to determine what alterations need to be made to stem the steady trickle of money the organization has been losing for years.

For months the advisory board has been working with independent consultants in an effort to determine which parishes are effective, widely attended and financially stable.

The board then submitted their findings to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has final say and is expected to announce his determination by the end of the year. Officials from the Archdiocese of New York could not be reached for comments about any potential parish shutdowns as of Wednesday, Oct. 29.

"Change is hard, and it can be especially difficult to let go of buildings and places we’ve become attached to, but the Church must be about people," Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a statement on the Archdiocese of New York website when reports of the closings spread.

This isn’t the first time that the archdiocese has streamlined its operations. In 2007, 21 parishes were either consolidated into “clusters,” or closed altogether.

This parish review process, which the archdiocese has dubbed “Making All Things New,” provides three clear options for parishes that aren’t performing up to par: collaborate with other ministries on programs and community outreach to cut costs, consolidate and form a brand new parish with others or close altogether, where constituents and parishioners will be forced to join a nearby church.

“’Making All Things New’ is our attempt, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to carefully study our parishes, asking how they can be faithful to their sacred task of teaching, serving and sanctifying, according to the mind and heart of Christ,” Dolan said.

"Despite what some people may think, this process is not just about ‘the bottom line,’ and the Archdiocese of New York will – must – continue to be with our people and provide for their religious, spiritual, and sacramental needs.”

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