Big changes began on Friday for the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Declining congregations forced a massive reorganization. As a result, 26 parishes are closing and there are 59 newly-merged churches.
The announcement, which was made at the beginning of last month, was the a result of a two-year pastoral planning process.
The archdiocese said churches have been struggling. They've been losing members and there are fewer priests.
By merging and consolidating, however, the archdiocese believes the parishes will be stronger.
Nearly 70 parishes will remain as they are and 144 have been involved in mergers.
These mergers will involve unions of two, three, four, five and six parishes. One of the largest mergers is in Waterbury at St. Anne's.
There will be a total of 127 parishes in the Archdiocese of Hartford, down from 212.
Those newly formed parishes will have a new name and for the churches that are closing, mass will stop being celebrated.
The churches may still be open for weddings and other functions that have already been booked and planned.
Other plans to repurpose the churches will also be considered.
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