SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Springfield the ringing bells Sunday symbolize the end of an era.
The church was founded in 1917 to minister a growing Polish population in the North End.
Now, these same families are forced to say goodbye to the parish they’ve worshiped in for decades.
Just last year the church celebrated its 100th anniversary, but a decline in attendance and finance problems will result in its doors closing permanently on Sunday.
Bishop of the Springfield Diocese, Mitchell Rozanski, told 22News the decline was a result of many parishioners moving out of Springfield. “There have been some very, very faithful who have come back who might not live in the neighborhood but still come back here to worship. So I want to be with them to bring consolation and to bring hope.”
Memories are what brought back those who moved away to say their final goodbyes.
Fran Sypek from Bondsville told 22News, “I came back ’cause this was my first church. I came here with my grandparents, and my parents got married at this church. And I have not been back since 1964 for my grandmothers funeral.”
Donald Rostowski from Wilbraham said, “My families, along with other families, they built the school, they built the church. My first communion was made here, my parents got married here.
This is where our memories are. It’s a very heavy heart for us today.”
Bishop Rozanski has designated Immaculate Conception Parish in Indian Orchard to be the receiving parish, and told 22News this great heritage will remain long after the doors close.