Closing of Parishes

I am sometimes asked, “Why are we closing so many parishes in
Steubenville?” My first answer to that question is always, “Read the
appendix of the Pastoral Plan for the City of Steubenville.”

My shorter answer is a little more graphic: “At present, the Diocese of Steubenville has 70 parishes, 52 priests, and half of those priests are over 60 years of age.” I am approaching age 50, and there are only a half a dozen priests in this Diocese younger than I. In order to truly understand the problem we face, we have to think beyond the City of Steubenville. We priests were ordained for service to the Diocese, not just the City of Steubenville. The bishop has to supply pastors for parishes all over the Diocese. The priests at the University (faculty and students) cannot be counted on for continuous, stable ministry, only occasional help. Their commitments are elsewhere. The retired priests cannot be counted on for continuous, stable ministry, only occasional help. A “parish priest” (Canon Law’s phrase for a “pastor”) must provide continuous, stable ministry.

The bishop has given us two years to implement a new plan because he intends
to remove half the diocesan priests from this City and place them
elsewhere in the Diocese where there is a greater need.

Rev. Timothy P. McGuire

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