The announcement of parish closures happens this month. The City and the inner ring suburbs are getting the worst of it.
Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron is reviewing recommendations to
close up to 20 churches in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck, and
about 30 more in the suburbs. The pending closures -- which are expected
to be finalized this month -- could shrivel the church's urban
footprint to nearly one-third of the 112 parishes that existed in
Detroit and its enclaves in 1988.
Since 2000, about 25 parishes
have closed in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs. Recently, at least
seven parishes in the suburbs have decided to close or merge in the next
year or two. But unlike the pending suburban closures, many of the
urban parishes didn't ask to be closed.
Many of the threatened
urban parishes provide services to poor and homeless people. They are
beacons of stability. And they are fighting to stay open.
is providing food services, helping the homeless, closing (a church) is
really a symbolic death knell of a neighborhood," said demographer Kurt
Metzger, who directs Data Driven Detroit and shared population trends
and statistics with the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, which made the