Site last updated: Thursday, March 30, 2023

Log In

Reset Password
Butler County's great daily newspaper

New Catholic parish to combine resources, better serve members

The merger of two churches in southwestern Butler County and one in Ellwood City into the Divine Grace Parish is another step in Bishop David Zubik’s “Church Alive!” initiative of 2015.

Linda Ritzer, secretary for parish services at the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said on Thursday that all three church buildings will remain open and keep their current names when the merger becomes official July 1.

They are St. Ferdinand in Cranberry Township, St. Gregory in Zelienople and Holy Redeemer in Ellwood City, which are now a “parish grouping” known as The Cities of God.

The Rev. Philip N. Farrell, the current pastor of the The Cities of God churches, will move to his new diocesan position as regional vicar for the North Vicarate, Ritzer said.

The parish’s new pastor will be the Rev. Jim Wehner, she said.

Parishioners will not notice any change in church names or Mass schedules at the current time, but that may be re-evaluated in the future, Ritzer said.

“The church buildings are in service to the new parish and the parishioners do have access and are encouraged to attend any and all services,” she said.

Ritzer explained that merging allows the various resources at individual churches to be brought together to pursue the diocesan and church-wide mission of evangelism and service.

“We want to create more vibrant parishes with effective ministries,” she said.

Regarding St. Gregory Catholic School at the church in Zelienople, Ritzer said as of now, it will remain a ministry of the new parish.

The school educates students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“We hope that by bringing together the new parish, we will create a vibrancy that will allow the parish to grow and thrive,” she said.

The Divine Grace merger, along with two other regional mergers, will bring the number of parishes in the diocese from 70 to 63.

Ritzer said there were once more than 300 parishes in the diocese.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

* indicates required