SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls plans to change how it serves some rural congregations, as populations continue to shift from rural areas to urban centers.

The shifting demographics coupled with a high rate of retiring priests and the loss of several religious orders led Bishop Paul Swain to announce changes were coming to the diocese structure. The Argus Leader reports ( he made the announcement in a monthly newsletter.

The diocese governs all of the Catholic parishes in South Dakota east of the Missouri River. No churches are expected to be closed. But some parishes probably will be merged, and others will stay open but lose regular services.

The diocese has been planning for the changes since 2009. Spokesman Jerry Klein says no changes will happen until next summer.

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