The Pillar has the scoop:

The Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, is expected to announce to priests Monday that a process is underway that could see the diocese merge with the neighboring see of Columbus.

Senior U.S. and Vatican sources have confirmed to The Pillar that a merger process between the dioceses is underway, and that Steubenville priests and chancery personnel will be informed of the merger process at an all-hands meeting Monday afternoon.

The Steubenville diocese would be the second U.S. diocese to be merged in recent years with a larger neighbor — the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, was in 2020 merged with the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

The Steubenville diocese is home to fewer than 40,000 Catholics in 13 counties of Appalachian southeastern Ohio, who are served by 36 active priests, according to the diocese. The neighboring Diocese of Columbus consists of nearly 300,000 Catholics and almost 150 diocesan priests.

But while a formal merger process is underway, a decision on the issue is not a done deal. Both the priests of the diocese and the bishops of the United States will be consulted before the process is complete and a decision made, U.S. and Vatican sources told The Pillar.

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