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Columbus diocese plans to cut nearly 20% of churches

Inside Saint Aloysius Church shows pews and stained glass
Renee Fox
/
WOSU
Saint Aloysius Church, 2165 W Broad St., Columbus, OH.

Columbus will join cities across the Midwest this summer with a wave of Catholic church closings.

The 23-county Diocese of Columbus plans to close nearly 20% of its churches—19 of 105. Eleven of them are in Franklin County, which has about half of the diocese's churches now.

The plans have not yet been finalized, and the diocese is still accepting feedback.

The closures would be on par with national trends.

The Catholic Church is closing parishes across the country as the number of people willing to work as priests decreases and attendance dwindles.

There are fewer active priests than there are churches in the Columbus diocese.

The percentage of the U.S. population that considers themselves Catholic has been declining steadily as more secular beliefs take root, especially in younger generations, according to the Pew Research Center.

Reaction to the proposed closures on social media varies. Some praised the architecture and history of the buildings and expressed hope the church would retain them and perhaps reopen them someday. Others say the church’s scandals have understandably pushed people away.

The diocese declined to be interviewed for this article.

The parishes facing closure are:

Corpus Christi Catholic Church on Columbus' South Side

St. Ladislas Church on Columbus' South Side

Holy Name on Columbus' North Side

Parroquia Santa Cruz on Columbus' North Side

St. Aloysius Church on Columbus' West Side

St. Anthony Church on Columbus' Northeast Side

St. Matthias Church on Columbus' Northeast Side

St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church on Columbus' East Side

St. Thomas the Apostle on Columbus' East Side

St. Mary Catholic Church in Groveport in Franklin County

St. Mark Catholic Church in Lancaster in Fairfield County

St. Mary Church in Bremen in Fairfield County

Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Glenmont in Holmes County

St. Leonard Catholic Church, in Heath in Licking County

Church of the Atonement in Crooksville in Perry County

St. Bernard Church in Corning in Perry County

Holy Trinity of Zoar in Bolivar in Tuscarawas County

Immaculate Conception in Dennison in Tuscarawas County

St. Francis de Sales in Newcomerstown in Tuscarawas County

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Fox joined the WOSU newsroom from the Tribune Chronicle/Vindicator in the Youngstown area, where she’d been a reporter since 2014. Contact Renee at renee.fox@wosu.org.