Saint Patrick’s Church in Chicopee celebrated its final mass on the last Saturday of October. The Catholic Diocese decided to close the church because fewer and fewer people attended services there.
“People have emotional ties to their parishes and their churches, but we don’t worship church buildings, we celebrate our faith,” said Springfield Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont.
Saint Patrick’s Church in Chicopee closed its doors last month and this time for good.
Back in 2010, the Springfield Catholic Diocese issued an order to close the parish that oversaw Saint Patrick’s Church and the church itself.
Springfield Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont told 22News, the Vatican upheld its right to close the parish but not the church. And in 2012, under the new leadership of Springfield’s Holy Name Parish, the church was received permission to hold one mass per week.
Dupont told 22News, for weekly mass to continue the church needed at least 100 people in attendance. He said they were able to meet that number initially but it has since “dwindled” to about 40 parishioners.
“And that’s simply not feasible,” said Dupont. “Given the shortage of priests we have and our other resources, it just doesn’t make good sense to maintain a church with so many other active parishes nearby.”
As for what comes next, Dupont said Holy Name will consider its options on the future of the building, which includes appealing to the Vatican to officially relegate the church for non-sacramental use. In other words, it prohibits Holy Name from tearing the church down or selling it for non-sacramental use.
But for now, no action will be taken.
Dupont told 22News, Saint Patrick’s Church wasn’t the only church affected by this decision. The parish community of Holy Name also had to cut back on one other mass celebrated early on Sunday mornings.