Parish Shifts Underway in Pittsburgh Diocese As Church Seeks to Regain Trust
By Peter Smith
October 14, 2018
When the Rev. James Farnan arrived as pastor at St. James Catholic Parish in Sewickley earlier this year, he said one longtime parishioner told him bluntly that over the decades, “we only had one priest change the Mass schedule, and we ran him out of town in six months.”
Now the Mass schedule is changing again, not just at St. James but throughout the Diocese of Pittsburgh as a massive, long-anticipated parish consolidation process gets underway officially Monday.
That includes new and often reduced Mass times, and Father Farnan pointed out that it wasn’t his doing but part of a diocese-wide effort in response to long-running declines in priests, parishioners and participation.
But even a historic reorganization like this is hardly the biggest of his worries — not in the wake of the Aug. 14 release of a statewide grand jury report into sexual abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses over the past seven decades. A half-dozen priests who served or resided at St. James were accused of abuse in the report.