Catholic church consolidation announced

On Sunday, May 7, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair and the Office of Pastoral Planning of the Archdiocese of Hartford announced a comprehensive pastoral plan that reconfigures the 212 parishes of the Archdiocese in Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties.

In Milford this will mean the merging of St. Ann and St. Gabriel parishes into a parish called St. Raphael, and the merger of St. Mary and St. Agnes into the Precious Blood parish.

Christ the Redeemer will remain as is until its minister retires and then it will merge with St. Mary.

“The announcement comes as the result of a two-year pastoral planning effort involving careful, thoughtful and prayerful consideration and wide consultation about the dramatic changes of the last half century, which continue today, and which have a major impact on the life of the church,” according to a notice published on the Archdiocese website.

“The goal is to ensure a more viable and sustainable future for parishes; better pastoral care and spiritual well-being for people and priests alike; and a revitalized sense of mission on the part of everyone to be a more active and welcoming community of faith in keeping with what Pope Francis calls “missionary discipleship,” the statement reads.

The archdiocese pointed out the difference between a parish and a church, saying parish refers principally to the people, the church to a building

“Effective June 29, 2017, of the 212 parishes, 68 will remain as they are, and 26 will close. The remainder will be reconfigured by the merging of two or more parishes into one parish with one or more church buildings, the continued use of which will be subject to local determination over time,” the archdiocese statement reads.

“The fact that a parish is closing does not necessarily mean that its church building will be totally closed,” the notice states. “It means that regularly scheduled Masses will no longer be celebrated there. As the pastoral process continues, new uses for buildings will be considered.”

Check back for more on this story.