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CHARLESTON, S.C. (CNS) -- The Catholic dioceses of the Carolinas and Georgia are experiencing record growth, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta said during a meeting of the U.S. Catholic Church's Atlanta province.
"We realized that all five of the dioceses represented here have recently opened new chancery offices," Archbishop Gregory said in an interview with The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the statewide Diocese of Charleston.
"We are all in a growth mode. That's a good thing," he said during the province's June 26-29 meeting in Charleston. "We are spending part of our time here talking about the need to establish new parishes, expand pastoral outreach, and respond to growing numbers both from immigration and those moving here from other parts of the country. We all are sharing in this growth."
Archbishop Gregory said the leaders realized the scope of growth in their Southern province while touring the Diocese of Charleston's new pastoral center, which opened in 2016.
That growth is the opposite of what is happening in some Northern U.S. dioceses, where the number of people in the pews is declining in many areas, and parishes and schools are being closed or forced to consolidate.
In addition to the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Charleston, the province includes the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, and the North Carolina dioceses of Raleigh and Charlotte.