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Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
   
Albany Diocese Announces Final Decisions
of 2 ½-year Called to BE Church Process


After 2 ½ years, more than 600 meetings, input from more than 10,000 Catholics across the Albany Diocese, and prayerful consideration, the final decisions of the Diocese’s planning process have been reached.

The decisions are being announced to parishioners during Masses on Jan. 17 and 18, 2009.

The grassroots planning process, known as Called to BE Church, involved thousands of Catholics across the Diocese in shaping the future of the church specifically, aligning its physical, financial and personnel resources in a way that would serve the greatest number of Catholics now and in the future, while preserving the Church’s commitment to inner cities, the poor, elderly and infirm, and other vulnerable populations. Thirty-eight local planning groups (comprised of parish leaders and lay parishioners-representatives from two or more neighboring parishes) studied issues on a neighborhood and regional level across the 14 counties of the Diocese.

“There’s no question that the closing of parishes is a difficult and painful process for the people of the parish, for which there is a great spiritual and emotional attachment. All of the people involved in this process empathize with the painful adjustments that will be required,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard.

“In fact, my own home parish of St. Patrick’s in Troy will be closing —the church where I grew up, went to school, celebrated my first Mass as a priest of the Diocese, and buried my parents. But we as a church must acknowledge the social and demographic trends that require change, and remember our Church must adapt, just as our ancestors’ Church adapted to rapid changes in society throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Catholics Move to the Suburbs

The changes in parish alignment are driven by the following:

Most cities across the Albany Diocese have lost between 25 and 39 percent of their populations since 1960 (with the notable exception of Saratoga Springs);

Suburban areas have grown by 50 percent or more during that time;

There are likely to be fewer than 100 Diocesan priests serving 132 parishes within 5 years. In the 1960s, there were approximately 400 priests in the Diocese;

Many of the multiple urban and ethnic parishes built in the early 20th century only a few blocks from each other in cities are now under-used because of population shifts.For example, across six urban churches in Troy (with a total seating capacity of 3,200) the combined weekend Mass attendance totals about 1,300 — the same number at a single parish in Ballston Spa or Glenville.

Some Churches to Close, Others to Merge

In total, 33 worship sites will close across the Diocese over a three-year period, through the end of 2011. (“Church,” as the term is used in this news release, means a building in which Catholics worship. “Parish” refers to the geographic area or population served by a church or churches. A parish may include one or more churches or worship sites.) Virtually all of the recommendations of the local planning groups with respect to the future of their local churches were adopted in the final decisions.

In Albany, two churches will close as they merge with two others. In Troy, six churches will close. In Schenectady, two churches will close and two others will merge into one. In Cohoes and Amsterdam each, three churches will close. One church will close in Glens Falls.

Even after parish closings and mergers, the number of parishes in the urban areas will be greater than in the suburbs.For example, Clifton Park has a general population of approximately 36,000 people with one parish.In Troy, the population approximates 47,000 people yet the city will have seven parishes remaining, following the closure of the six parishes just announced.The City of Schenectady will have nine parishes for a population of approximately 61,000 people.The City of Cohoes will have two parishes for approximately 15,000 residents. Amsterdam will have three parishes for a general population of approximately 18,000 people and Albany will have 10 parishes remaining for a general population of 94,000.

“The Called to BE Church plan provides a blueprint for the most prudent use of the resources that have been entrusted to us and a clear statement of our continued commitment to meeting the spiritual and human needs of residents of our cities,” Bishop Hubbard said.

Planning for the future of parishes is happening in dioceses across the state and across the Northeast. The Dioceses of Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo have closed between 20 and 30 percent of their churches. Through Called to BE Church, the Albany Diocese will close just under 20 percent of its existing worship sites.

Throughout the Diocese, the Called to BE Church final decisions are as follows:

Albany County

In the City of Albany:

St. John’s/St. Ann’s and St. James will merge by July 1, 2010, with both worship sites to remain open.

St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena will merge by October 1, 2009.St. Teresa’s worship site will close.

Holy Cross and St. Margaret Mary will merge by October 1, 2009.
Holy Cross worship site will close.

St. Teresa’s School and Holy Cross School will merge on July 1, 2009 at the Holy Cross School site.

 

Elsewhere in Albany County:

St. Bernard’s (Cohoes) will close by February 25, 2009.

St. Joseph’s (Cohoes) will close by February 25, 2009.

St. Rita/Sacred Heart (Cohoes) will close by February 25, 2009.

St. Michael’s (Cohoes) to become a territorial parish, will remain open.

St. Bernadette’s Mission Church (Berne) to close by December 31, 2010.

 

Columbia County

St. Mary’s (Hudson) and Resurrection (Germantown) will merge by July 1, 2009, with both to remain open.

St. John Vianney (Claverack) and St. Bridget’s (Copake Falls) will share a pastor, and conduct feasibility study on possible merger and worship site. The findings of the feasibility study are to be submitted to the diocese by December 31, 2009.

Nativity/St. Mary’s (Stuyvesant Falls) and Holy Family (Stottville) will merge by December 31,2009 with both remaining open.

Delaware County

Our Lady of Good Counsel Mission Church (Roxbury) will close immediately.

 

Fulton County

St. Mary of Mount Carmel (Gloversville) and Sacred Heart (Gloversville) will merge by July 1, 2009; determination of which worship site will close to be made by July 1, 2009.

Holy Trinity (Johnstown) to determine by July 1, 2009, which one of its three worship sites will remain open.

 

Greene County

St. Patrick’s (Catskill) to conduct feasibility study of parish facilities by December 31, 2009; At that time the diocese will revisit possible merger with St. Patrick’s (Athens).

Immaculate Conception (Haines Falls) and Sacred Heart (Palenville) will merge by July 1 ,2009, with both to remain open.

 

Montgomery County

St. Casimir’s (Amsterdam) to close by May 3, 2009.

St. John the Baptist (Amsterdam) to close February 25, 2009.

St. Michael’s worship site (Amsterdam) to close by February 25, 2009.

Sts. Peter & Paul (Canajoharie), St. James (Fort Plain) and St. Patrick’s (St. Johnsville) to merge by July 1, 2009. Recommendations on worship site(s) to be submitted to the diocese by July 1, 2010.

 

Otsego County

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mission Church (Edmeston) to close by July 1, 2009.

St. Mary’s Mission Church (Sharon Springs) to close by December 31, 2009.

Blessed Sacrament Mission Church (Springfield Center) to close by October 18, 2009.

St. Thomas (Cherry Valley) to become mission church of St. Mary’s (Cooperstown) by July 1, 2010 with both to remain open.

 

Rensselaer County

In the City of Troy:

St. Patrick’s to close by July 1, 2010.

St. Peter’s to close by May 31, 2009 (Tridentine Mass will move to St. Joseph’s in Troy).

St. Paul the Apostle to close by May 31, 2009 (Perpetual Adoration Chapel to move to Chapel at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy).

St. Francis de Sales to close by February 25,2009.

St. Mary’s to close by July 1, 2010.

St. William’s to close by February 25, 2009.

 

Elsewhere in Rensselaer County:

St. Joseph’s/St. John’s (Rensselaer) will determine one worship site for parish by July 1 2009, with other worship site to close by July 1, 2010.

St. Bonaventure (Speigletown) and Holy Trinity (Schaghticoke) to merge by July 1, 2010, with both remaining open.

St. John Francis Regis (Grafton) and Sacred Heart (Berlin) will merge by September 1, 2009, with both remaining open.

St. George Mission Church (Pittstown) to close by July 1, 2009.

 

Saratoga County

Assumption/St. Paul (Mechanicville) will determine one worship site by July 1, 2009.

 

Schenectady County

Our Lady of Assumption (Rotterdam) and Immaculate Conception (Schenectady) will merge by July 1 2010;Immaculate Conception worship site to close by January 1, 2011.

St. John the Baptist (Schenectady) to close by February 25, 2009.

St. Mary’s (Schenectady) to close by July 1, 2009.

St. Margaret of Cortona (Rotterdam Junction) will become a mission church of St. Joseph’s (Schenectady) by July 1, 2009.

 

Schoharie County

St. Joseph’s (Schoharie) and St. Catherine’s (Middleburgh) to merge by July 1, 2009.St. Joseph’s worship site to close by July 1, 2009.

St. Mary’s Mission Church (Schenevus) to close by February 25, 2009.

St. Anna’s (Summit) to close by July 1, 2009.

Warren County

St. Alphonsus (Glens Falls) will close by July 1, 2010.

Immaculate Conception (Corinth) and Holy Infancy (Lake Luzerne) will merge by July 1, 2009 with both to remain open.

St. John the Baptist (Chestertown) and Blessed Sacrament (Hague) will merge by December 31, 2009, with both to remain open.

 

Washington County

St. Joseph’s (Fort Edward) and St. Mary’s/St. Paul’s (Hudson Falls) will share a pastor in July, 2010, with both remaining open.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Granville) will close by April 13, 2009.