Parishioners Saddened by Pittsfield Church Closings

By Larry KratkaPrint | Email
PITTSFIELD - As you may expect, reaction to the announced closing of six Catholic churches in Pittsfield over the weekend was one of shock and sadness.

For most parishioners at Mount Carmel for Mass, they were looking around at a parish that most of them had spent their entire lives in. By the time Sunday morning Mass started, just about everyone knew about the closing but it was a different story at the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday when parishioners were read a letter from Bishop Timothy McDonnell.

The churches are All Souls' Mission, Holy Family, Mount Carmel, St. Francis', St. Mary's and St. Teresa's at 290 South St. There closure will leave only four Catholic churches in Pittsfield. The diocese's Mullin Report, a strategic planning guide released last year, had recommended closing two churches.

One woman attending Mass said she was baptized at Mount Carmel 70-something years ago, married at Mount Carmel and held the funeral for her husband at Mount Carmel. Her children and grandchildren were all baptized and confirmed at Mount Carmel. The church was her life.

The closing of Mount Carmel and other churches has a trickle-down effect - it also means that bingo will end at Mount Carmel at the end of June, CYC students will have to sign up at new parishes in the fall and even Boy Scout Troop 8 at Mount Carmel will have to find a new home. Some parishioners had attended a planning conference in the fall at which time they were told Mount Carmel would probably stay open for another year but that didn't happen.

The closings of the six Catholic churches in Pittsfield also means that the remaining churches will be on the receiving end of hundreds of catholic families looking for a new home. 

Diocese officials were planning a press conference at St. Joseph's Church this morning.

Provided by the Berkshire News Network (WUPE/WNAW).
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