The following comes from a Jan. 7 story by Albert Pacciorini in the Oakland diocese Catholic Voice.
The New Year officially welcomed a new parish to the Oakland diocese on Jan. 1.
Divine Mercy Parish is a union of two Oakland churches, St. Lawrence O’Toole-St. Cyril at 3725 High St., and St. Paschal Baylon, 3700 Dorisa Ave. St. Lawrence O’Toole-St. Cyril was formed in 2001, combining separate, older parishes.
Similar to other unified parishes, two separate campuses remain on High Street and Dorisa Avenue. In Alameda, St. Philip Neri and St. Albert the Great combined administration in 2011; Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont combined St. Leonard and Santa Paula; and the Catholic Community of Pleasanton operates St. Augustine and St. Elizabeth Seton.
At Divine Mercy, worship — Masses, Sacraments, religious and other events — will be held at the separate sites. There is one parish office, one rectory, one parish council, one finance council, one music ministry. For reasons of economy and efficiency, administrative operations are combined, in this case on High Street.
Combining the existing three names into one for the new parish would be unwieldy, so parishioners submitted names. Divine Mercy was the most popular — and the new name was announced at a parish picnic on Sept. 30.
The union brings together about 100 families from St. Paschal Baylon and 900 families from St. Lawrence O’Toole-St. Cyril.
So, in the course of less than twenty years, three parishes have become one. So much for growth.
Let’s also look at the migration patterns of the city of Oakland. Many are moving to the burbs, in addition to the fact that attendance is down. It has to be uneconomical to run a parish with only 100 families. The norm is more like 1,500-3,000 nationwide.
Well, since about 90% of Catholic young adults leave the Church these days and with Catholic baby boomers all dying out over the next twenty years, you can expect this sort of consolidation to accelerate all over the country.