MOST REVEREND MICHAEL R. COTE, D.D.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As you are already aware, our diocese and many dioceses around the country are facing declining numbers of both priests and parishioners. Consequently, we must continue to plan for the future as best we can, based on the projected number of priests available to minister, as well as the number of people in our parishes.
The Diocese of Norwich began the process several years ago with the clustering of parishes, and then the yoking of parishes, as well as some mergers in which one parish closed. Most recently, we have adopted the more moderate approach of merging parishes, but without closing church buildings. The result of such mergers is that one parish has two or more worship sites.
By merging two or more parishes into one parish with multiple worship sites, we simplify the many administrative tasks involved in parish life, allow the parish to maximize its resources, and minimize, we hope, the disruption of parishioners’ regular schedule of religious practice.
This year in the Diocese of Norwich, the following parishes will be merged in accord with this process.
- St. John the Evangelist, Uncasville with Our Lady of the Lakes, Oakdale and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Quaker Hill. The newly merged parish will be Divine Mercy Parish, Uncasville.
- St. Joseph, New London with St. Mary, New London and St. Paul, Waterford. The newly merged parish will be St. Brendan the Navigator Parish, New London and will remain yoked with Our Lady of Grace, Fishers Island, NY.
- St. Bridget, Moodus with St. Patrick, East Hampton. The newly merged parish will be St. John Paul II Parish, East Hampton.
- St. Columba, Columbia with Holy Family, Hebron The newly merged parish will be The Good Shepherd Parish, Columbia.
- St. Andrew, Colchester and St. Francis of Assisi, Lebanon The newly merged parish will be Guardian Angels Parish, Colchester.
These mergers will become effective on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Through this measured approach to the restructuring in our diocese, we hope to be sensitive to the deep feelings of attachment our people have to their parishes. As our diocese continues to move forward in pastoral planning, let us join together in prayer and in action, working toward our goal of vital, vibrant parishes. May we always remember to pray for each other as we journey together into a future bright with promise and filled with an abundance of God’s grace.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop of Norwich