SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Diocese has announced the closing of a parish that was founded in 1917.
Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s full letter follows:
December 29, 2017
Dear parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary,
I am writing to you in response to a report presented to your parish community back on November 8 and subsequently shared with me regarding concerns over the continuing viability of the Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.
I am sure for those who regularly attend Mass these findings of decreased attendance came as no great surprise. Of course such a decline also has a direct impact on the financial stability of your parish community. This is a scenario we have seen play out in a number of other parishes, where despite the dedicated efforts of parishioners, their beloved parishes were no longer able to be sustainable.
Sadly this is the situation we now find ourselves in with Our Lady of the Rosary.
In some regards this trend has been evident for a number of years; however the rental of the school building helped to offset the decline in collections. But, as you know, that school is scheduled to be re-located in 2018 making any future rental revenue uncertain and further diminishing parish resources. Even more pressing is the recent discovery of serious problems with the steam pipes that heat the church. Add this to the overall uncertainty of any other potential repairs which may arise in such aged buildings, I feel we have no other recourse than to act sooner rather than later.
Therefore after careful consultation and prayerful reflection, and with a very heavy heart, I must inform you that Our Lady of the Rosary Parish will cease operations after the final Mass on January 28, 2018.
I have designated the Immaculate Conception as the receiving parish and have directed Fr. Sokol to reconstitute the parish and financial councils to include members of your community.
Understandably this is a painful decision to share and even harder to hear, one wrought with many emotions. Yet I urge you to remain faithful to the values which have marked the 100 year legacy of Our Lady of the Rosary, avoid the temptation to assess blame or fault but rather give this beloved parish a dignified closure.
Our Lady of the Rosary Parish has played an important role in the Catholic Church here in western Massachusetts and that great heritage will remain long after this sad closing.
Please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks.
(Most Rev.) Mitchell T. Rozanski
Bishop of Springfield