The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston on Thursday announced the names of more than two dozen parishes participating in the first phase of a major reorganization that will eventually group the archdiocese’s 288 parishes into about 135 clusters, each led by a team of clergy and lay leaders.
Saint James, Saint John, Immaculate Conception, and Saint Anne churches are named in the Archdiocese plan to cluster churches so they can share resources. The parishes will remain open, but church officials said they hope will learn to work together.
Tony Salvo, a former Salem mayor who attends Saint Anne’s in Salem, believes the move to the four-church collaborative in Salem will be hardest on elderly parishioners. “Older people are the ones who will be confused the most. They’re used to the way things are, and it’s not easy for them to change. They’re set in their ways,” he said.
Dr. Kathleen Keefe Ternes attends Immaculate Conception in Salem, and served on a pastoral planning task force that includes the three other Catholic churches that will be part of the new church collaborative in Salem. She said a majority of parishioners at her church voted recently to be part of the collaborative.
"I think for the Catholic community to strengthen, we just cannot go on doing things they way we are. We have to face the realities of the number of priests that we’re going to have available. Each parish has its strength that it can bring to that collaborative and as a group we’re going to better than we are individually. Pooling resources will allow us to offer better religious education and when you look at our situation we’ll be better off as a group,'' she said.
Here is a list, provided by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, of the 28 parishes that will be grouped into 12 clusters, or “collaboratives,” in the first phase of the archdiocese’s reorganization plan:
1. Saint Luke and Saint Joseph, Belmont
2. Saint Mary, Saint Margaret, Saint John, Beverly
3. Saint Mary, Saint Theresa, Saint Andrew, Billerica
4. Saint Mary, Brookline (a one-parish collaborative)
5. Saint Mary of the Angels, Roxbury and Saint Thomas and Our Lady of Lourdes, Jamaica Plain
6. Saint Mary and Sacred Heart, Lynn
7. Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Maria Goretti, Lynnfield
8. Saint Lucy and Saint Monica, Methuen
9. Sacred Heart, Middleboro and Saints Martha and Mary, Lakeville
10. Sacred Heart and Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton
11. Saint James, Saint John, Immaculate Conception, and Saint Anne, Salem
12. Saint Jerome and Immaculate Conception, Weymouth