Hartford Archdiocese says 26 churches will close; 59 to merge

By June 29, the Archdiocese will reduce the number of churches from 212 to 127. (WFSB)

The Archdiocese of Hartford will be providing details on a plan to reorganize the 212 parishes, which includes both closures and mergers.

Archdiocese spokesperson Maria Zone said Saturday the reorganization is part of a two-year pastoral planning process.

By June 29, the Archdiocese will reduce the number of churches from 212 to 127.

The Archbishop made the announcement during a press conference on Sunday, citing fewer priests and people attending church as two of the reasons for the changes.

Although exact details of the reorganization have not been released yet, Zone did say that 26 churches will completely close and masses will cease at those locations.

Another 59 of them will merge, those unions could involve anywhere from two to six parishes. However, some of those that merge will remain open leaving the Archdiocese with 186 church buildings.

"This is going to result in 59 new parishes, the majority of which will also receive a new name, so when the parishes come together and unite as one, the parish entity will receive a name, even though the church buildings already, always retain the name at which they were consecrated," said Rev. James Shanley.

Some of the church buildings could be sold or repurposed. Priests will also be reassigned and some will go on senior status.

Archbishop Leonard Blair believes the changes could breath new life into the church.

"It's not just about trying to close buildings that can't afford or buildings that are half used, but to reinvigorate the community, priests and people alike," he said.

A list of the closings is available here.

In Waterbury, six parishes will merge, being the biggest reorganization in one city.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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