NEW YORK (AP) -- Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Sunday announced plans for the merger of almost a third of the parishes in the Archdiocese of New York, one of the largest reorganizations in the archdiocese.

An advisory committee of clergy and other diocesan officials conducted a yearslong review before coming up with the plan to merge 112 of the 368 parishes. The reorganization affects churches throughout the archdiocese, from Staten Island to Sullivan County, and takes effect Aug. 1, 2015.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan (NBC)

"This time of transition in the history of the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge," Dolan said. "There will be many who are hurt and upset as they experience what will be a change in their spiritual lives, and I will be one of them."

It was unclear what would be done with the unused churches and buildings.

After the merger, 24 new parishes will celebrate Mass and sacraments at two churches, including churches from 48 of the merged parishes. Thirty-one new parishes will serve congregations from 64 of the merged parishes and will celebrate Mass and sacraments regularly at only one church.

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