The Archdiocese of Seattle has announced its official list of 170 parishes and worship sites that it will be merging into 60 “parish families” as part of its major diocesan renewal plan.
In 2023, Archdiocesan Vicar General Father Gary Lazzeroni said that the archdiocese was facing an “urgent need for change in how we are approaching parish life.” The archdiocese will have only “around 60 pastors in the next 15 years,” while “many parishes are operating with a deficit,” he said.
Archbishop Paul Etienne on Friday, February 2, publicized the final list of what the archdiocese calls “parish families,” according to a press release. Per the announcement, this finalized rundown came “after significant prayer and discernment”.
A “parish family” is “two or more parishes under the leadership of one pastor,” according to the archdiocese. Over time, an individual parish family “will determine how it will share resources such as staff, ministries, and outreach and grow into one canonical parish,” a process the archdiocese said will occur “over a period of about three years.”
This parish family initiative is part of the archdiocese’s extended Partners in the Gospel renewal initiative.
A news outlet of the archdiocese in a report on Saturday, February 3, stated that the merger will see 170 “parishes, missions, and stations” grouped into 60 parish families. Pastoral leadership for the families will be announced in April, while the mergers themselves will take effect in July this year.
In a letter announcing the mergers, Archbishop Etienne said he was “grateful to the thousands of people who engaged in the consultation process by providing insights during the input phase, sharing new ideas, and praying for this renewal effort.”
“My hope is that parish families will benefit from the shared gifts of people, time, finances, talents, and more so that we, as partners in the Gospel, can truly renew parish life,” he said.
“We need every member of the Church to share their God-given gifts to build up the body of Christ,” the Archbishop added.