Pittsburgh Diocese announces job cuts, move of administrative office

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 7, 2020

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will eliminate 11 jobs, reduce the hours for two others, and relocate its administrative offices as it tries to reduce costs while responding to the “ongoing challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic,” the diocese announced Tuesday.

The reorganization plan will move diocesan headquarters from the Boulevard of the Allies in Downtown to the St. Paul Seminary campus in East Carnegie, where some of its offices are already located. The Downtown building would likely be put up for sale.

The plan was announced to staff and clergy Tuesday during two online conference calls.

In the release, the diocese did not specify which jobs were eliminated.

The diocese said a long-term decline in Mass attendance and donations “has been exacerbated by the ripple effect of COVID-19. Decreased donations to parishes directly impacts Parish Share giving, which is the primary source of funding for the diocesan budget.”

The cuts were originally expected to be higher, but the diocese was able to reduce the cuts, in part due to a $2.5 million loan through the federal Payroll Protection Program, which the diocese says helped prevent further layoffs and furloughs.

“Having to let one person go is sad enough, but we have 11,” Bishop David Zubik said. “We just try to be very responsible about using the money the best way we can.”

The cuts come on top of a previous round of cuts last year in which the diocese eliminated about 32 positions.

Long-term declines in attendance and donations have been exacerbated in the past two years, first by some parishioners upset over parish mergers and the grand jury report into sexual abuse by priests, and more recently by the pandemic. Churches were closed for several weeks, and the usual required attendance remains waived even with their reopening. Donations have been down 20% since the pandemic started.

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