WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Declining numbers have led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence to grant a merger request to three Warwick parishes.
St. Catherine and St. Francis of Assisi will merge canonically into SS. Rose and Clement Parish, the diocese said Monday.
The merger officially takes effect July 1, the day after Fr. Pierre Plante will retire as pastor of both parishes.
Fr. Andrew Messina, pastor at SS. Rose and Clement, will oversee the new merged parish.
“We extend a very warm welcome to all who wish to join us,” Messina said in a statement.
St. Rose and Clement’s church building, on Long Street, had already taken on weekday mass celebrations for all three parishes back in January, and that’s where all worship will take place primarily now, the diocese said.
The St. Catherine and St. Francis of Assisi church buildings will remain in church possession to be used if needed. Sacramental records will be consolidated at SS. Rose and Clement.
Trends in worship
The Warwick parishes are the latest under the Providence Diocese to find themselves merging.
Declining attendance led to the merger last August of two neighboring parishes in Woonsocket, St. Charles Borromeo and All Saints, though there’d been a request to the Vatican to keep St. Charles open.
Two parishes in Cumberland merged in 2018, closing St. Patrick Church due to high costs of needed repairs there, and merging into St. Aidan Parish.
In 2016, the Providence Diocese merged the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Federal Hill in Providence into Holy Ghost Parish, further down the hill.
Mount Carmel’s church building had originally been closed due to health and safety concerns, but a reduced flock also played a role there as well, church officials said.