(AREA) -- The head of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw says about half of its 109 places of worship will reduce or end services over the next 3-years. Bishop Joseph Cistone says that so far, no churches are slated to close. Cistone says the diocese is designating 56 of the 109 churches as parish churches, 24 for additional use and 29 for occasional use.
Effective, July 1st of this year, St Joseph Church in Sandusky, St. John in Peck, and St. Elizabeth in Marlette will merge, forming a new parish community. St. Joseph will serve as the parish church. Mass will also be celebrated each weekend at both St. John and St. Elizabeth.
St. Denis in Lexington, St. Mary in Port Sanilac and St. Patrick in Croswell will also merge, with St. Denis serving as the parish church. Mass will also be celebrated each weekend at St. Mary. Regularly scheduled masses will no longer be celebrated at St. Patrick; however, the St. Patrick site will also serve in support of Hispanic ministry.
St. John in Ubly, St. Columbkille at Sheridan Corners, St. Joseph in Argyle, and St. Ignatius in Freiburg will be merging with St. John being the parish church. Mass will also be held each weekend at St. Columbkille at Sheridan and St. Joseph in Argyle.
Also on July 1st, Saints Peter and Paul in Ruth and St. John in Forestville will merge, with Saints Peter and Paul being the parish church. Mass will also be celebrated seasonally each weekend at St. John.
St. Mary in Parisville and St. Patrick in Palms will merge, with St. Mary as the parish church. A weekend mass will also be held at St. Patrick.
Our Lady of Lake Huron in Harbor Beach and St. Anthony in Helena will merge and Our Lady of Lake Huron will be the parish church. A weekend mass will also be held at St. Anthony Church.