Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Jun
  • 15

Parish and mission merging

Posted By June 15, 2012 | 4:00 am | Local
A parish and a mission in the diocese are being merged into nearby parishes and their buildings are being designated as chapels, Bishop McManus announced this week. St. Anne Parish in the Manchaug section of Sutton is being merged with St. Mark Parish in Sutton. Our Lady Queen of Heaven Mission in South Royalston is being merged with Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol. In decrees dated June 11, Bishop McManus said the changes will take effect at 12:01 a.m. June 30.

A parish and a mission in the diocese are being merged into nearby parishes and their buildings are being designated as chapels, Bishop McManus announced this week.
St. Anne Parish in the Manchaug section of Sutton is being merged with St. Mark Parish in Sutton.
Our Lady Queen of Heaven Mission in South Royalston is being merged with Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol.
In decrees dated June 11, Bishop McManus said the changes will take effect at 12:01 a.m. June 30.
The newly merged entities will be territorial parishes keeping the name of the receiving parish: Our Lady Immaculate Parish and St. Mark Parish.
Our Lady Queen of Heaven has been a quasi-parish, or mission, of Our Lady Immaculate, whose pastor is also pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Athol and St. Peter Parish in Petersham.
Also effective June 30, Father Krzysztof Korcz becomes pastor of these parishes. He is currently their associate pastor. The current pastor, Father Richard A. Jakubauskas, is to be associate pastor of St. Peter and St. Joan of Arc parishes in Worcester and assistant chaplain at UMass Memorial Hospitals. He will reside at St. Joan of Arc.
Father Michael A. DiGeronimo, currently St. Mark’s  pastor, will be pastor of the merged parish. St. Anne’s pastor, Father Patrick J. Hawthorne, is to be pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Worcester.
The four church buildings will retain their present names, but the two being merged will be called chapels. The Eucharist is to continue to be reserved in the chapels in which liturgical celebrations such as baptisms and funerals can be held at the pastors’ discretion, according to Msgr. F. Stephen Pedone, judicial vicar/vicar for canonical affairs.
The diocesan Pastoral Planning Committee recommended the mergers after listening to the pastors of St. Anne’s and Our Lady Immaculate and studying the matter extensively, Bishop McManus says in the decrees.
The bishop listened to the Pastoral Planning Committee, then consulted the presbyteral council as required by Church law, said Msgr. Pedone, a member of the committee and its canonical adviser. He said the council voted unanimously for the mergers.
“No one likes to lose their home, but we have to make these changes because we feel they will better serve the needs of the people,” Msgr. Pedone said.
“It’s nice to have small, intimate parish communities, but we don’t have the resources we used to,” in finances and numbers of priests, he said. So sometimes that means downsizing the number of buildings to put the resources toward ministerial programs, he said. And, he said, joining the few members of a small parish with a larger parish can make the latter more vibrant.
St. Mark’s, on Boston Road, is to assume the goods and assets, including property and patrimonial rights, as well as burdens and liabilities of St. Anne’s, at 29 Main St., the decree says. St. Mark’s is to accommodate St. Anne’s spiritual traditions.
Our Lady Immaculate, at 244 School St., is to assume the goods and assets, including property and patrimonial rights, as well as burdens and liabilities of Our Lady Queen of Heaven, on Route 68, the decree says.