Six new parishes begin on July 1 with many familiar pastors
June 25, 2010, WORCESTER, MA – Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, S.T.D, Bishop of Worcester, has issued decrees to be read this weekend in 13 parishes in the Diocese of Worcester to officially mark the end of the charters of 13 parishes and begin new charters for 6 parishes. All the decrees are being published this weekend in
The Catholic Free Press and on the diocesan website at www.worcesterdiocese.org. The decrees are the last formal step for announcements which have been made over the past year regarding these pastoral changes. The decrees also cover the assignment of responsibilities of patrimonies of closing parishes.
“While this weekend marks the end of one era for Catholics in Clinton, Fitchburg and the West side of Worcester, it is also the beginning of a new one,” said Bishop McManus. “As we deal with the loss of parishes which have been so central to many of your families’ lives, I encourage all who are impacted by these changes to look forward to the roles that these new parishes will play in their futures.”
In the town of Clinton, the existing charters of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Our Lady of Jasna Gora, and Our Lady of the Rosary will cease. A new parish is established from the merger of all three to be called St. John, Guardian of Our Lady Parish and it will worship at St. John the Evangelist Church, which retains its title in accord with Canon 1218 of the Code of Canon Law. The new parish will assume all assets and liabilities of the three former parishes. The decision was announced last December and a transition team has been working on preparations. Special celebration Masses at Our Lady of Jasna Gora and Our Lady of the Rosary were scheduled for the last two weekends. In a related announcement, Bishop McManus noted that Fr. Thomas Walsh, current pastor of St. John the Evangelist, Clinton will be the pastor of the newly established St. John, Guardian of Our Lady Parish effective July 1.
In the city of Fitchburg, as announced in March 2010, four new parishes will exist as of July 1. All four will be territorial parishes responsible for outreach to different parts of the city of Fitchburg. A new St. Bernard Parish from the merger of the former St. Bernard and St. Camillus de Lellis parishes with responsibility for the northern portion of the city will be located at St. Camillus de Lellis Church, which retains its title in accord with Canon 1218. A new St. Anthony of Padua Parish with territorial responsibility for the center of the city will be located at St. Anthony di Padua Church, which retains its title in accord with Canon 1218. A new St. Francis of Assisi Parish with territorial responsibility for southwest area of Fitchburg will operate from the St. Francis of Assisi Church. A new St. Joseph Parish from the merger of St. Joseph, Madonna of the Holy Rosary, Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Immaculate Conception parishes with responsibility for the southwest area of Fitchburg will worship at St. Joseph Church. All assets and liabilities of the former parishes have been redistributed to the new parishes as defined in the decrees. Special Masses are being held this weekend where churches will no longer be housing independent parishes.
Some pastors will be familiar to Fitchburg parishioners while one will be a new face on the block. In a related announcement, Bishop McManus noted that Fr. Robert Bruso will be pastor of the newly establish St. Anthony of Padua Parish; Fr. Joseph Dolan will be the pastor of the newly established St. Bernard Parish; Fr. Emerito Ortiz will be the pastor of the newly established St. Francis of Assisi Parish; and Fr. Richard Trainor, new to Fitchburg, will be pastor of the newly established St. Joseph Parish.
In Worcester, as announced in February 2010, a new Blessed Sacrament parish will begin to serve neighborhoods on the West Side of Worcester on July 1 as the result of a merger of Blessed Sacrament and St. Charles Borromeo Parishes. The new parish will worship at Blessed Sacrament Church on Pleasant Street. All assets and liabilities of the former parishes will be assumed by the new parish. Transition planning has been underway for the past few months led by the two pastors. As was previously announced, Fr. Chester Misiewicz, pastor of St. Charles will take over for Msgr. F. Stephen Pedone, pastor of Blessed Sacrament on July 1.
Bishop McManus included the following in a letters to be read this weekend in the thirteen affected parishes. “The next few months and even years will be a time of transition for all Catholics involved in these changes. I am deeply grateful to the pastors who are leading the effort to move forward with these new parishes. I am confident that they will do all they can to establish ministry teams to help in the spiritual, catechetical, and charitable changes which will be taking place.”
Bishop concluded, “Our Scripture readings this weekend motivate us to hope in the future because, as St. Paul reminds us, our new life in Christ is an opportunity to ‘serve one another through love,’ which is the mission of every parish. May the Holy Spirit deepen in all of us the conviction of faith that for those who love God, everything works together for the good.”
As of July 1, the Diocese of Worcester will have 108 parishes and 4 missions.