A number of Catholic parishes in Italy are set for a management overhaul following a new training program launched on Tuesday between the Villanova School of Business and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
The deal signed between the two universities will see Villanova bring educators from its Center for Church Management and Business Ethics to the classroom in Rome.
Financial records for the archdiocese show a $9 million deficit in operating activities for the 2014 fiscal year and uncertainty about the costs of its sexual abuse scandal.
"No one I know who wants to become a priest says they want to run a business, but that's what a parish often is."
Shrinking attendance and shifting population led to the closures, which will leave the archdiocese with 219 parishes, down from 266 in 2010.
The story of the Catholic church in the United States has become a tale of two churches, shrinking and consolidating in some parts but flourishing dramatically in others.