Roman Catholic church numbers could be cut as Archdiocese consults on reforms

St Francis Xavier's is the largest RC church in the Falkirk district. There is no suggestion that it could close.
St Francis Xavier's is the largest RC church in the Falkirk district. There is no suggestion that it could close.

The number of Roman Catholic churches and priests serving the Falkirk district could be reduced amid falling congregation numbers.

The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, which covers most of central Scotland, with the exception of Glasgow and Lanarkshire, plans to reduce the number of parishes it administers from more than 100 to 30.

The reforms were revealed in a letter from Archbishop Leo Cushley to the deans of the archdiocese, asking them to begin discussion on how best to organise resources at a local level.

A spokesman for the church told The Falkirk Herald that plans were at an early stage and no final decisions had been made.

He said: “Since 2008, the 113 parishes of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh have been gathered into 31 clusters, by which clergy minister to several parishes within a particular locality.

“The Archbishop’s letter to the deans of the Archdiocese asks them to begin a discussion about how better to co-ordinate resources at a local level. This could include, for example, the creation of larger parishes or sharing church buildings or halls.

“The Deans will submit proposals by Easter 2015. The discussion will then be opened further to clergy and lay representatives from each parish.

“If the process concludes in the creation of around 30 parish units, it is also important to stress that this does not mean that the Archdiocese will consist of only 30 churches. A single enhanced parish could contain several church buildings where Holy Mass and the sacraments are available.”