December 12, 2011

The Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand, will reduce the number of parishes by more than half, Bishop Barry Jones announced.

Jones said that because of a diminishing number of clergy, the number of parishes will be reduced from 50 to 24.

Larger parishes formed from two or more consolidated parishes will have two resident priests, and a parish may have more than one church.

"Sunday Mass is at the heart of the life of the Church.

Its weekly celebration comes to us from the apostles themselves," Jones said in a statement.

He made it clear that Sunday Mass and parish life require a priest: "No priest, no Mass."