Three Catholic parishes in Holyoke merging in August


Staff Writer

Published: 06-30-2021 10:48 AM

HOLYOKE — The consolidation of Catholic churches in the region continued on Tuesday when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield announced that it was merging three parishes in Holyoke.

Our Lady of Guadalupe parish and Immaculate Conception parish will be merged into St. Jerome’s parish on Aug. 15, Bishop William Byrne said Tuesday. Our Lady of Guadalupe has already been worshipping at St. Jerome Church on Hampden street since last fall after its former place of worship, Sacred Heart Church, was closed in March 2017 after plaster fell from the ceiling. Immaculate Conception on North Summer Street will be retained as a chapel by the newly merged parish.

In a statement, the diocese said the merger comes after years of discussions. St. Jerome Parish administrator Father Mark Stelzer said that since July 2020, the three parishes have worked in preparation for their formal merger.

“Parish leaders are convinced that the reconfiguration they have proposed will foster a stronger sense of community and promote a better sharing of resources,” Stelzer said. “The truly wonderful thing about this merger is that the request to merge came from parish leaders and was not imposed on parishioners by diocesan leadership. The entire process by which the Holyoke merger came about reflects the type of collaboration that builds stronger parishes and a more vibrant Church.”

The church said that sacramental records from the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes will be moved to St. Jerome’s parish office, as well as records for three other former Holyoke parishes: Precious Blood, Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The church will name a new pastor and administrator to lead the new parish. St. Jerome Parish, the church noted in its statement, is the oldest in Holyoke, dating back to 1854.

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