Franciscan Sister Ann Rehrauer of Green Bay, Wis., hands out literature Oct. 11 during the Canon Law Society of America's 74th annual convention in Rosemont, Ill.
Franciscan Sister Ann Rehrauer of Green Bay, Wis., hands out literature Oct. 11 during the Canon Law Society of America's 74th annual convention in Rosemont, Ill.
Parishes, parish life and lay leadership were the focus of the Canon Law Society of America’s 74th annual convention in Rosemont, Ill.

“The parish is the place where people encounter Christ regularly. That’s where people are baptized and confirmed. That’s where all their celebrations of their life take place,” said Rita Ferko Joyce, immediate past president for the Canon Law Society of America.

More than 350 canon lawyers and others involved in church legal work attended the convention last month.

U.S. parishes are being closed and merging because the Catholic population is not aligned with where the parishes are. In recent years, the South and Southwest have seen an upswing in the number of Catholics, while more historically Catholic parts of the United States and Canada — where there are more parishes — have seen a decline, he said.