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Archdiocese of Baltimore merger of parishes could start in months. Parishioner is "angry" with plan.

Archdiocese of Baltimore blames lower attendance, mounting maintenance costs of parish mergers
Archdiocese of Baltimore blames lower attendance, mounting maintenance costs of parish mergers 01:54

BALTIMORE-  The Archdiocese of Baltimore will shut down and merge dozens of parishes within the next couple of months.

The final plan, announced Wednesday, would trim 61 parishes to 23 with 30 worship sites.

The archdiocese blames lower attendance and mounting maintenance costs for the consolidation plan.

"These decisions, while difficult, are made with an eye toward a future full of hope," Archbishop William Lori said.

Ralph Moore, a longtime parishioner at St. Ann's Catholic Church in East Baltimore, told WJZ he is angry about the archdiocese's decision. 

"I went from surprised to disappointed to then very angry," he said. "This church has been here 150 years. We just celebrated our 150th anniversary."

The mergers mean dozens of parishes in Baltimore City and the surrounding suburbs will be shutdown.

The decision comes in the wake of the Archdiocese of Baltimore filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last September, days before the Child Victims Act went into effect.

But church leaders say the mergers are unrelated.

"If we are to believe these two events have nothing to do with each other, we should then believe that rocks grow," Moore said.


"Proceeds from any building sale will remain in the parish and follow the people to the newly formed parish," Lori said.

Archdiocese leaders instead blame shrinking congregations, even outpacing the city's population loss, as well as deferred maintenance costs across parishes.

"This process was aimed at allowing our parishes to focus on mission and ministry as opposed to leaking rooves, crumbling walls, and failing electrical and plumbing issues," Lori said.

The archbishop said some parish mergers will occur in the coming months, while others could take years.

"This decrease in church attendance has been going on for decades and they did nothing about it," Moore said. "Now, they're blaming the folks in the pews."

The archdiocese says this initiative will not affect Catholic schools, and money contributed to Sunday's collection plates will be transferred to the newly-merged parishes. 

You can find a list of the consolidated churches here.

Visit to review the entire proposal.

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