Catholic churches in Woonsocket RI to merge
WOONSOCKET — Parishioners received the official word at church Sunday morning: All Saints Roman Catholic Church will be closing at 323 Rathbun St., and the congregation will merge with St. Joseph’s Church, 1200 chemin Mendon, before February 7.
The two parishes have requested the merger, a press release from the Diocese of Providence said. The dwindling number of All Saints parishioners, which fell from 748 in 2019 to around 134, could not cope with the rising cost of staying open or catching up on long-delayed repairs, estimated at more than $1 million. .
All Saints Day has no upcoming baptisms, first communions, confirmations or weddings, the press release said.
The parish of Saint-Joseph will assume the territory and the parishioners of All Saints, as well as its sacramental registers.
“The amalgamation of a parish and the permanent closure of a church building is always a sad and painful occasion and never the desire of any bishop or priest,” said Reverend Ryan J. Simas, who is parish priest of Saint-Joseph and administrator. of All Saints, “but it is my hope and prayer that bringing these two communities together will create a stronger and more faithful Catholic Church in Woonsocket….”
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, commended Simas and members of both parishes “for walking together and working together to bring this merger to a successful conclusion…I pray that parishioners see this change not as a whole -back, but more like a new chapter in their journey of faith, a fresh start filled with wonderful possibilities.”
All Saints Parish was created in 2007 with the canonical amalgamation of Our Lady of Victories, St. Aloysius Gonzaga and St. Ann Parishes.
From 2015 to 2019, Central Woonsocket Parish recorded 171 baptisms, 118 first communions, 117 confirmations and six marriages. Many sacraments of initiation were intended for Spanish-speaking families who moved to Holy Trinity Parish, the diocesan decree said.
The church building has interior water damage, drainage problems and deteriorating mortar on its facade. Repairs would cost approximately $1.32 million.
The 1957 building that had been St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s Church “is relegated from sacred to profane (but not sordid) use” and “loses its former status as a sacred place”. All items will be inventoried and made available first to St. Joseph Parish and then to other parishes, a bishop’s decree said.
The decree goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on February 7. The parishioners who wish to “exercise an appeal against this decree have the right to do so”, in writing, with supporting documents, and within 10 working days following receipt of the notice.
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