Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Jan
  • 5

Diocese sells Fatima

Posted By January 5, 2012 | 1:39 pm | Lead Story #3

By William T. Clew

The Our Lady of Fatima Church building with attached hall at 43 Belmont St. was sold Dec. 30 to the Chinese Gospel Church located at 21 Belmont St.  for $675,000, according to Msgr. Thomas  J. Sullivan, diocesan chancellor.
The proceeds go to Our Lady of Providence Parish, of which Our Lady of Fatima was a part. All consecrated items in the church, including altar, pulpit and tabernacle, have been moved to Our Lady of Providence. St Bernard’s Church at 228 Lincoln St. is where the parish worships. The Fatima replica, statues of Our Lady and the three children to whom she is said to have appeared, also have been moved to St. Bernard’s, Msgr. Sullivan said.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish was merged July 1, 2008, with St. Bernard’s Parish to form Our Lady of Providence Parish, which worships in St. Bernard’s Church. Our Lady of Fatima Church was closed in September 2009, though Bingo night has continued in the church hall. Bingo will be moved to the gymnasium at St. Bernard’s,  Msgr. Sullivan said.
Before it became a Catholic church, the 43 Belmont St. building housed the First Lutheran Church. Bishop Wright bought the building and formed the Fatima parish from St. Paul’s, St. Bernard’s and St. Ann’s parishes. Masses were celebrated in the lower hall until remodeling and dedication on June 29, 1952.
Major repair and removal of the bell tower at the southeast corner of the church was completed in 1999. Our Lady of Fatima Church over the years had suffered damage from aging and the vibrations from heavy traffic on Interstate 290 which runs next to the church.
The Chinese Gospel Church bought its building at 21 Belmont St. from the A.M.E. Zion Church, which bought and now worships in the former Holy Name of Jesus Church on Illinois Street. On July 1, 2008, Holy Name Parish, together with Notre Dame and St. Joseph parishes were merged to form Holy Family Parish which worships in St. Joseph’s Church at 35 Hamilton St.
Msgr. Sullivan said that the Chinese parish plans to dedicate its new church in June or July after it has completed renovations and alterations and has asked the Worcester Diocese to take part in the dedication ceremony.
Bishop McManus commented in a press release: “I am grateful that this Christian community of faith can utilize this property so that the church which served the Catholic community since the 1950s and originally the Lutheran faithful can now be of service as a place of worship, of education and of community service.”
According to Msgr. Sullivan, there are several Catholic church buildings for sale in Worcester County, though none is in the city of Worcester. They include St. Bernard’s and Immaculate Conception in Fitchburg, the Sacred Heart of Jesus campus with its four buildings in Southbridge, St. Michael’s in Mendon, Holy Angels in Upton and Our Lady of the Rosary and the Our Lady of Jasna Gora property in Clinton. Our Lady of Jasna Gora Church is being torn down. In addition, Oakhurst Retreat and Conference Center in Whitinsville, which formerly housed the diocesan Office for Youth Ministry and is owned by the House of Affirmation Inc., is for sale.