Cardinal approves archdiocese reshuffle
BRAINTREE, Mass. (AP) -- Cardinal Sean O'Malley has approved a plan to reorganize the Boston Archdiocese's 288 parishes into 135 clusters that share staffing and resources.
The plan announced on Thursday aims to help the archdiocese deal with worsening finances and attendance, as well as a looming priest shortage, without shutting down parishes.
The archdiocese is banking on an ongoing evangelization drive to bring Catholics back into the pews and strengthen the local church. Right now, about 16 percent of Boston Catholics regularly attend Mass and 4 of 10 parishes can't pay their bills.
The new clusters will combine from one to four parishes, and be headed by a single pastor and run by merged staffs. Each parish will retain its legal identity, but the clusters could shed redundant buildings and other resources.