Saginaw Diocese Making Cuts in Half of Churches

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BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) -- 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 three years. says Bishop Joseph Cistone announced the cuts at Bay City's St. Joseph church, where regular Masses will end in July 2014.

The diocese covers 11 counties in central lower Michigan and says 109,000 people count themselves as members, down about 32 percent since 1988.

The diocese 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, Cistone said.

The bishop says decision to sell churches will be up to the parish's administration.

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