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Targeted Restructuring of Parishes and Schools

In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus tells his disciples that branches must be pruned from the vine in order to bear more fruit.

Targeted Restructuring of Parishes and Schools

Across the United States, many Catholic dioceses are undergoing a structural pruning, as consistent trends must be faced: an aging priest population; a decline in Mass attendance and Sunday collections, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, a decreasing Catholic population and the rise of the “nones” – those claiming no religious affiliation; an increase in frequency and costs of structural maintenance needs of aging churches and schools; and a frequent decline in Catholic school enrollment aggravated by a nationwide educator shortage.

The Diocese of Joliet began its own pruning in the fall of 2021, when consultant recommendations streamlined operations at diocesan headquarters located at the Blanchette Catholic Center. A new organizational chart reduced headcount by nearly 30%, with an emphasis on outward-focused service.

In the summer of 2022, attention turned to the vitality and sustainability of parishes and schools. A team of the bishop, senior staff and the eight priests who serve as deans of the eight deaneries of the diocese began the process of evaluating data and trends about our diocese, focusing on specific geographic areas that need review – hence the term of “targeted restructuring.”

This targeted restructuring team is examining the future of parishes and schools in three phases: urgent; in the next year; and in two to three years.

Bishop Hicks wrote about this targeted restructuring process in his October 2022 column.

As we accompany parishes and schools in this journey to a new era of vibrant Catholic institutions, news about the process will be posted here.

News Release: Diocese of Joliet announces future of Catholic schools in Lockport

News Release: Diocese of Joliet announces future of Catholic schools in Lombard