Parishioners Saddened by Pittsfield Church Closings

By Larry KratkaPrint Story | Email Story
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.

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Pascual-Polanco Brothers Sentenced to Life for 2019 Homicide

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Chiry Omar Pascual-Polanco and Carlos Pascual-Polanco on Thursday were given life sentences without possibility for parole for the murder of 18-year-old Jaden Salois in 2019.

The brothers lured Salois, of Dalton, outside a Pittsfield home for a false drug deal and shot him in the back in the early morning hours on Jan. 20, 2019. Prosecutors say the killing was over allegations of stolen marijuana. 
During the sentencing at Berkshire Superior Court, several of Salios' family members gave impact statements that detailed his kind disposition and hopes for the future. They said it was unfair for him to be robbed of it.

"A piece of me is gone that will never be replaced," his mother Megan Bernardini wrote.

"Over the past 3 1/2 years, me and my family have experienced endless sleepless nights and have had never-ending thoughts of why this happened to Jaden and why this happened to us," his cousin Brianna Crucitti said. "We still don't know why it happened to him or why it happened to us."

Family members of Chiry Omar, 26, and Carlos, 22, called the verdict is an injustice, arguing that there was not sufficient provable evidence and that the brothers are innocent.  

They did not speak at the sentencing but offered statements to iBerkshires afterward.

Sister Marisela Pascual knew that she and her brothers had "no fighting chance" for their lives in this community and said it is clear that they didn’t commit the crime.

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