WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Catholic parish in West Springfield will be closing its doors at the end of the summer, due to declining membership and financial difficulties. Leaders from the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish on Main Street petitioned Bishop Mitchell Rozanski to close the church, and the bishop has accepted that recommendation.
iObserve.org, the Diocese’s official news agency, reports that the decision was announced at Masses this weekend. The final Mass at the Main Street church will be celebrated on Sunday, September 4 at 10:30 A.M.
The parish was formed in 2008 through a merger of the Immaculate Conception Parish (which used to be housed in that church building), the St. Louis de France Parish further down Main Street, and the St. Ann’s Mission church on Memorial Avenue. Since that time, the new parish has faced several difficulties, particularly in the past year. Deacon Donald Philip explained their struggles to parishioners.
“For more than a year, our parish and finance councils have been meeting together, seeking a solution to what became a ‘perfect storm’ of a changing neighborhood, aging buildings, and small numbers in the pews,” Philip said.
Highlighting its declining numbers, the parish had to suspend its religious education program after no young people enrolled in either its first communion or confirmation classes. The parish has also had to contend with water and masonry problems in the church building, and poor finances.
After St. Frances Xavier Cabrini closes, the popular St. Jude Novena held there will continue at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish on Pine Street in West Springfield.