Masses end at Milford's Christ the Redeemer

MILFORD — A 55-year tradition of Sunday Mass at Christ the Redeemer ended earlier this month, with the merger of the parish into Precious Blood Parish. The church, located in the northwestern part of the city, was established in 1966.

The plan to consolidate the parishes has its roots as early as 2018, and was originally intended to take place in May. But the COVID-19 pandemic and technical difficulties forced the delay, according to the Rev. Aidan Donahue of Precious Blood.

The Archdiocese of Hartford confirmed that the holdup involved the parish’s email portal, and the delay was to ensure a smooth a transition as possible.

“They had a transition team made up of laypeople to guide the process of bringing those two parishes together,” said David Elliott, assistant director of communications for the archdiocese. “You have people who oftentimes have spent their whole lives at a particular parish, and when there is a merger, you want to rely on that experience and that community to bring these two communities together.”

According to the diocese’s decree on the merger, Christ the Redeemer’s church building will remain a place of worship at present but with no regularly scheduled Masses. The assets and liabilities of the former Christ the Redeemer Parish will become the assets and liabilities of Precious Blood Parish.

“Regularly scheduled Masses ceased as of June 1, and only weddings and funerals, as desired, will be held on the Christ the Redeemer campus,” said Elliott.

Precious Blood Parish was created from the merger of St. Mary and St. Agnes in 2017, according to Donahue. Christ the Redeemer becomes the third parish to become part of Precious Blood. In addition to Precious Blood, Milford has a second parish, St. Raphael, that formed in 2015 when the archdiocese merged St. Gabriel and St. Ann in the Devon section of town.

Christ the Redeemer’s history begins with its founding on Sept. 18, 1966 by Archbishop Henry O’Brien. At the time, St. Mary included more than 2,000 families, and about 450 families relocated to the new church, which was located on 12 acres of land on Oronoque and West Rutland roads, according to a church history by Stanley Kavan and Eleanore Turkington.

The church grew steadily, reaching its peak membership in the early 1990s. As recently as 2016, the church included 650 families as it marked its 50th anniversary.

Currently, Elliot said he’s not aware of any plans to sell the Christ the Redeemer campus but will instead stay as an as-needed use.

“The whole parish and church thing sort of gets complicated,” said Elliott. “A parish is seen more of a community rather than a building because Christ the Redeemer church will always be Christ the Redeemer Church. It’s just part of the Precious Blood Parish community.”

Mass at Precious Blood Parish is Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at St. Agnes. The Mass schedule for St. Mary’s campus is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.