January 21, 2017
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Ann and Our Lady of Loreto Parishes
to Merge into one Parish
New Parish will serve area’s Italian Catholic Community
January 21, 2017, WORCESTER, MA -- Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, officially announced today that there would be a single personal parish to “serve the care of souls and spiritual and sacramental needs of the Italian community of Worcester.” It will be established from the merger of the current Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Ann and Our Lady of Loreto Parishes. The new parish will be called Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish and the church will retain the name Our Lady of Loreto Church in accord with canon 1218. The announcement is being made to parishioners of both parishes who attend Masses this weekend at Our Lady of Loreto, where both communities have gathered since the closure of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church on May 1, 2016 due to safety concerns from structural issues.
The decree cites the decline in parish membership in both parishes over the years and that the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church “is in a state of disrepair and has been deemed unsafe by architectural and structural engineers hired by the parish” which would be beyond the means of the parish to repair.
Historically, the decree notes that Our Lady of Loreto was built as a mission of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in 1955 and formally “erected” or established as a personal parish in 1965 “to assist in serving the spiritual and sacramental needs of the Italian community of Worcester.” A significant shift in the demographic population of their neighborhoods has taken place since that time and membership has declined in both parishes. A single pastor was named to serve both parishes two years ago and programs and ministries such as religious education were shared to be more effective. A joint parish council has been assisting the pastor, Mgr. F. Stephen Pedone, JCL. Discussions of a merger began in earnest more than a year ago and have been delayed in part due to the deliberations over the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church repairs. The decree acknowledges that these parish committees sought the merger to move forward in the best interest of the faithful so that they could be a community sharing a common mission.
Given that Our Lady of Mt Carmel-St. Ann was the product of a merger in 1962 to care for Catholics residing in the territory of St. Ann Parish, and that the new parish would be worshipping in a church located away from “St. Ann’s Hill,” the territory is being assigned to Our Lady of Providence Parish, whose territory abuts the neighborhood and worships at St. Bernard Church located on Lincoln Street.
The disposition of the property is identified as follows in the decree: “The ownership of Our Lady of Mount Carmel church and the plot of land on which it sits, along with all the property belonging to Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Ann Parish bounded by Mulberry Street, East Central Street and Leo Turo Way, will be transferred to the newly titled Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish.”
COPY OF DECREE
Letter from Bishop McManus to the Parishioners