EVANSVILLE (AP) — The Diocese of Evansville will begin merging 24 parishes into 10 starting next July as a way of addressing a shortage of priests and a decline in Mass attendance.

Bishop Charles Thompson says none of the 24 churches involved in the parish mergers will close as a result of the merger. A news release put out by the diocese says each pastor will determine the Mass schedule for each parish and where services will be held.

Thompson says the mergers are part of the first phase of an ongoing effort to keep the diocese a lively, faith-filled community.

The release also says parish and school staffs will determine what will happen to the schools at the parishes involved in the mergers.