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Difficult decision: Youngstown Diocese says not enough priests to keep churches open

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The Diocese of Youngstown said some parishes will have to close and there will be fewer masses

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This weekend, several parishes in Youngstown learned their churches would be closing. Others around the diocese learned there would be cutbacks in the number of masses.

For many worshippers, the change is emotionally difficult.

The diocese said it was a difficult decision but there are just too few priests to celebrate all of the masses.

Many of them, well past retirement age, are handling too many services.

“Priests are human. They have the same needs as the rest of us do, for rest and recreation, and to get away from their job and their ministry at times,” said Pete Schafer, with the Diocese of Youngstown. “When we increasingly ask them to have more responsibilities on their plate, it’s just like any of us. It can be too much.”

The diocese mentioned several young men are considering becoming priests but Schafer said the diocese needs many more men and women who feel called to religious life or service.

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