CLEVELAND (AP) — A downsizing plan that could shutter more than 45 Roman Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland is prompting some Catholics to look for ways to save their churches. More than 20 regional groups of parishes are preparing recommendations for closing or merging parishes in response to population shifts to the outer suburbs and the ongoing clergy shortage. Bishop Richard Lennon is expected to decide the fate of the parishes by March. The most closures are expected in Cleveland, where about 25 parishes are in danger of being shut down.

"It gets very hard when people are facing the possibility of closing, and all the feelings that one would humanly expect," said Rick Krivanka, co-chairman of the diocesan committee overseeing the downsizing process. "There's no easy way to do what is very difficult."