CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WPRI) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence announced St. Patrick it is permanently closing St. Patrick Church in Cumberland and merging the parish with St. Aidan Parish.
The Diocese made a public announcement Thursday morning after informing both parishes at Masses over the weekend. Church leaders cited high costs of repairing structural damage to the St. Patrick Church and decreasing membership as the main reasons for the merger.
The parish was established in 1861.
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St. Patrick Parish worshippers have been attending St. Aidan church since October 2017 due to structural damage, water leakage in the bell tower, and issues with the heating system. The Diocese estimates the costs to repair the building would total more than $1 million.
Attendance and the number of sacraments at the church have also been on the decline.
The Diocese reports that 1450 families were registered as part of the parish in 2007. As of 2017, that number had dropped to just 700 families.
A mere five weddings were held there from 2015 to 2017. In that same time frame, six students received First Communion.
As of July 1, the merged parishes will be known as St. Aidan-St. Patrick Parish.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin approved the merger and acknowledged the challenges of merging parishes.
“I am grateful to all who have collaborated so well to bring about this merger,” Tobin said. “While the parishioners of St. Patrick’s will undoubtedly miss their parish church, it is good to know their spiritual needs will continue to be met in their new parish home.”