Diocese of Norwich Announcement -
As we are aware, the pastoral planning process has been ongoing in the Diocese of Norwich for several years. We began by clustering parishes, and then moved to yoking parishes. Currently, 65% of all the parishes of the Diocese are yoked, which means they are joined together under the leadership of one pastor.
As the diocese continues to deal with demographic shifts, and a decline in the number of priests available for parish ministry, it is clear that the continued yoking of parishes is neither a sufficient nor effective means of planning for the future.
Currently, in the Diocese of Norwich, we have 76 parishes. Of those, 66 are within five miles of another parish. Very often, because of this multiplicity of parishes, church buildings are underutilized and parish communities are often fewer than 200 people.
In addressing this situation, the Diocese of Norwich announces the merger of four parishes. In a merger, two parish communities are joined into one community, and one church building is closed and will no longer be utilized for weekend Masses.
The four parish mergers are:
Sacred Heart Parish in Vernon will be merged with St. Bernard Parish in Rockville
St. Joseph in Dayville will be merged with St. James Parish in Danielson
St. Jude Parish in Willington will be merged with St. Philip Parish in Ashford
Sacred Heart in Wauregan will be merged with All Hallows Parish in Moosup
The details of the merger process will be carried out in the coming months, with the formation of new parish communities finalized in mid-October.
Let us, as a diocese, continue to pray for one another. Change can be painful, but when embraced in the spirit of Jesus, new life and new energy result.