HARTFORD - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford today is scheduled to confirm specific details related to a major reorganization expected to include the closing of a number of churches.
Archbishop Leonard Blair is expected to announce the changes in a press conference at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.
The archdiocese currently oversees 212 parishes in Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties. The new plan is expected to reduce that number to 127 parishes as of June 29. The church anticipates shrinking to 85 pastorates by 2027.
Some churches may be repurposed into such things as youth centers or homeless shelters, according to the Associated Press.
The archdiocese began working on a consolidation plan last spring due to factors such as a declining number of priests and lower attendance at Masses.
In a press release on the archdiocese website on Saturday, Blair said 68 parishes will be unaffected while 59 will merge. The mergers will involve unions of two, three, four, five and six parishes.
A total of 186 church buildings will remain open while 26 church buildings will close, “inasmuch as regularly scheduled Masses will not be held in them,” according to Blair.
In New Britain, St. Jerome and St. Maurice churches on are scheduled to officially begin operating as a single parish, St. Katherine Drexel, on June 1.
The Archdiocese merger plan for New Britain additionally calls for the eventual mergers of St. Joseph and St. Peter as Divine Providence, the merger of St. Mary and St. Ann as St. Joachim and the merger of St. Andrew and St. John the Evangelist as Holy Apostles.
The parishes of Holy Cross, Sacred Heart and St. Francis of Assisi are expected to be unaffected by the reorganization.
The merger of the parishes of St. Paul and Sacred Heart in Berlin took effective in early March.
A year ago, the archdiocese compiled a Bristol Deanery Data Report to address pastoral resources, ministry needs, community demographics and financial trends for the next five to 10 years.
The report categorizes the area’s Catholic churches as follows:
Low probability to remain as is: Immaculate Conception in Terryville.
High probability to remain as is: St. Joseph in Bristol and St. Matthew in Forestville.
Requires additional study: Our Lady of Mercy in Plainville; St. Casimir in Terryville; and St. Ann, St. Anthony, St. Gregory the Great and St. Stanislaus, all in Bristol.
According to the report, the Bristol Deanery is made up of of nine parishes. The age of the current priests ranges from 52 to 69, and the fastest-growing age group in the parishes is 65 and older.
Material from The Associated Press was includedn n this article.