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.
Under the parish reorganization plan, St. Jerome in Weymouth will pair up with Immaculate Conception, which is also located in Weymouth. Their churches are located about 2.6 miles apart from each other.
The Rev. John A. Dooher, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston and regional bishop for the south region, has stepped forward to serve as the interim administrator at St. Jerome Parish in Weymouth, where he has resided for the past six years.
“This has been my home parish,” he said.
Dooher said that St. Jerome’s pastor was recently reassigned and the senior priest just retired, so he hopes that serving as the administrator will ease the transition.
Dooher acknowledged that not all parishioners at St. Jerome are up to speed with the pastoral planning process.
“Most say, ‘Oh yeah Father, I think I heard something about that,’” said Dooher.
“Does everyone understand it perfectly? No. I probably don’t myself. But once you talk to them about it, they begin to understand that we have to do something; that’s the only way to grow.”
“I think those who understand it are positive to the concept,” said Dooher.
“The mission is stronger parishes.”
Dooher said multiple meetings have already been held to discuss the reorganization plans, and there will be plenty more in the near future. He said there will be public meetings, as well as joint meetings with the parish councils and finance committees from St. Jerome and Immaculate Conception.
The parishes will remain open, but church officials said they hope will learn to work together to share resources.
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