Philly archdiocese to merge 29 parishes into 13

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced that 16 parishes will be merged into 13 neighboring parishes in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

The announcement said parishioners will attend daily and Sunday Mass at the church of the new parish, with the old parish churches becoming worship sites. The status of another 17 parishes will not change.

The closures reflect the latest efforts to cut costs at the archdiocese by closings schools and parishes and selling off real estate.

The archdiocese cited shifting Catholic populations, high density of parishes in a small area, and declines in Mass attendance and the number of available priests.

The archdiocese has closed 31 parishes since 2012, and has 235 still in operation.