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Cemetery Management

Sustainability Matters, Church Edition, Winter 2012




Parish Analysis and Planning

Parishes are constantly changing. In some regions, significant development is taking place that results in increases in population over years and decades. As these population and demographic changes take place, there is an ongoing need for individual parishes (and the dioceses in which they reside) to react in ways that continue to provide expected ministries to the changing population.

Because the amount of land available is a constant, and all land is already "covered" by both a diocese and a parish, any increases in population that over time overwhelm existing church facilities in a locality will necessarily result in either more Masses (with a decreasing priest population), a need for larger churches, a need for new parishes, or some combination of these. Specific, rapid changes in a particular parish, such as that which may occur as a result of development of new assisted care or retirement communities in a community (large influx of an elderly population) may rapidly affect the need for parish services.

Similarly, decreases in the population of Catholics in localities resulting from loss of industry or simply changing demographics may result in the need for consideration of consolidation or clustering of parish services.

The use of computerized analytical tools to evaluate trends in changing demographics, populations, and household income characteristics, combined with the ability to present the results of these trends cartographically both to diocesan and parish planning groups, facilitates the planning process.

The Parish Analysis and Planning service results in production of a set of maps for each parish that depict the following: (Click on the maps below to view them full-sized.)

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The location of official parish boundaries

The location of church, school,
and parish related facilities


The location from which
registered parishioners travel to church

A depiction of, within the
boundaries of the parish, the locations of families who are registered to a parish other than the "home" parish, and an analysis of the number of families registered to each "competing" parish in comparison to the number of families registered to the "home" parish


Thematic displays of population trends, demographics, and household income characteristics in the region from which the parish draws its parishioners