What’s New With All Things New?

An Update on the Archdiocese’s Plan for Revitalization and Renewal

Evan Hugge '23, Editor

Last September, the Archdiocese of St. Louis made the surprise announcement that St. Mary’s and Rosati-Kain, both Catholic highschools located in the city, would be shutting their doors after the 2022-2023 school year. This announcement came after years of declining enrollment in both schools, and followed on the heels of Trinity High School’s closing in 2021. These drastic actions from the archdiocese did not come out of the blue. They are part of a much larger project of revitalization and restructuring within St. Louis’ Catholic community, a project known as “All Things New”. A quick perusal of the archdiocese’s website reveals very little about what the project actually entails, or why it is necessary. There is no shortage of vague language like “enhancing our evangelization efforts” and “securing a vibrant future for the Church of St. Louis”, but the local Church authorities have been rather quiet about specifics. 

A deeper dive into the documents provided by the archdiocese reveals the cause of this push for spiritual revival. According to these documents, our city’s Catholic population is decreasing rapidly, from around 535,000 at the turn of the century to around 484,000 today. Not only that, but the number of priests available to serve the Catholic population is also declining, with 35% of diocesan priests set to retire within the next decade. By 2026, the archdiocese projects that there will not be enough priests remaining to serve all of its parishes. If this was not enough, the archdiocese finds itself in a bit of a financial crunch. Last year, the archdiocese spent over $50,000,000 on subsidizing its 88 parochial schools, of which not a single one brought in enough money through tuition to support itself.

In light of these pressing problems, the archdiocese’s solution seems to be a drastic reduction in the number of parishes. Although the official plan for All Things New will not be announced until May of this year, it is widely understood that the initiative will primarily involve the merging of smaller parishes into larger ones in order to consolidate priests, money, and souls. Also a part of this plan is the closing of archdiocesan highschools which are no longer financially stable due to declining enrollment. While this does seem to be the only solution to the profound crisis facing the Church in St. Louis, many have raised concerns over its wide-ranging effects on the community. One of the reasons why the announcement last year that Saint Mary’s and Rosati-Kain (which have both announced their intentions to continue as independent schools) were being closed caused so much shock and anger was because those schools, and others in the city, have historically served more vulnerable populations in St. Louis, those who could normally not afford a private school education. 

The decision to close St. Mary’s and Rosati-Kain was one one of many that the archdiocese has made and will have to make in the coming year, decisions that will have profound impacts on the future of the Church here in St. Louis. Thus it is more important than ever to be informed about the problems that our local Church faces, and to keep in mind the Church’s mission to serve the less affluent areas of our society.


Source: https://allthingsnew.archstl.org/Planning-Process/Catholic-Education