PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — The Roman Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh has announced plans to merge more than two dozen parishes into eight new parishes next year.

Bishop David Zubik said Satuday that 26 parishes will be part of the Jan. 6 mergers, which will reduce the number of parishes in the diocese from 170 to 152. The diocese said “No buildings will close at this time.”

Zubik wrote in a letter to be read or distributed at this weekend’s Masses that “This has not been a simple task.” But he said the changes would mean more effective ministry “by addressing financial needs, sharing resources and allowing your clergy to focus on the spiritual work for which they were ordained.”

Officials said the mergers follow “extensive consultation” with laity in all parishes, including 329 parish meetings across the diocese in 2017.

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