Fall River churches to potentially merge due to financial struggles

SE Mass

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Some historic churches in Fall River are on the verge of closing for good as they are faced with millions of dollars worth of repairs.

Members of  Saint Anne’s Parish, and members of other local churches, were invited to one of several listening sessions to share their thoughts on the potential changes ahead.

Bishop Edgar Da Cunha said Catholic parishes are seeing less and less people attending mass each week.

“If they can’t collect enough donations from parishioners to sustain themselves, that is a sign that they are not sustainable,” Da Cunha said.

The Fall River Diocese is in the process of strategic planning to determine the fate of Saint Anne’s.

“Some parishes may need to consolidate,” Da Cunha said. “So that they can be stronger, so that’s why we need to evaluate.”

For the last few weeks, the listening sessions have provided the church several opportunities to hear from the community.

“We had seven in English, one in Spanish and tonight is in Portuguese,” Da Cunha said.

Da Cunha said at this point, he does not know which churches are also facing a potential merge because the Diocese is still in the process of conducting research.

He said anyone is welcome to write an email or send a letter to the Diocese with comments and concerns about a potential merge.

Fall River isn’t the only area where churches are facing financial struggles. On Wednesday, a historic Johnston church announced they would be merging with another parish due to declining attendance and the inability to find a new pastor.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence announced a few weeks ago that St. Patrick Parish in Cumberland would also be closing its doors for good due to several structural repairs and declining attendance.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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