Dolan: School closings, mergers coming in NY Archdiocese

September 20, 2010 11:46:42 AM PDT
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan is signaling that school closures and mergers are coming, and soon, in the New York Archdiocese.

"For one, yes, some of our schools will have to merge or even close. I wish there were a way around it. If the vine is to grow it must be pruned," he wrote recently.

Dolan said if action is not taken to consolidate or close schools, all of them will suffer. In addition, the Archbishop says the days of expecting a parish to support its school alone are coming to an end.

Each elementary school has until now been financed mainly by members of its local parish.

According to the New York Times, the proposed reorganization, the cost of educating roughly 56,000 grade school students would be spread among all the parishes, and all the plate-passing churchgoers among 2.5 million Catholics in the archdiocese.

Every diocese has struggled with the steady loss of enrollment in parochial schools, which are considered important as feeders for Catholic high schools and colleges, and as developers of lifelong faith.

"There is a strategic plan in the works for Catholic education. It should be released in a few weeks," a spokesman said.

The Times reported that insiders said 30 grade schools might close or be merged, most of them in the more densely populated and most financially ailing parishes of Manhattan and the Bronx, where large numbers of students are poor and non-Catholic.