March 6, 2017
(WARWICK, RI) - Due to a steady and sharp decline in the number of registered parishioners, increasing financial debt and dwindling parish reserves and after collaboration between the Diocese of Providence and St. William Parish, a written recommendation was made to Bishop Thomas J. Tobin that the church building be closed for an indefinite period of time. After consultation of diocesan staff, the Diocesan Consultors and the Council of Priests, Bishop Tobin has given his approval. Parishioners were informed during Mass last weekend. The final Mass is scheduled for Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017.
“The closing of a church is always a moment of sadness, but also an opportunity for renewed prayer and reflection,” said Bishop Tobin. “I am most grateful for all those who have supported the parish, personally and financially, over the years, as well as to the pastors who have provided dedicated leadership. Fortunately, the parishioners of St. Williams’s have several other outstanding churches in the area where their spiritual needs will be adequately met,” said Bishop Tobin.
St. William has been facing a consistent decrease in sacramental practice with just 513 registered families in 2016, down from 854 in 2013, and only 2 parish weddings over that same time period. There have been no baptisms for 2017 and just 3 baptisms in all of 2016. There is also an ongoing, significant financial deficit with accounts payable estimated at $203,000 and parish reserves totaling $12,700. Parish projections indicate that the parish will be out of money by the end of March 2017.
Every effort will be made to continue the ongoing spiritual and pastoral care of parishioners who are encouraged to attend Mass at nearby Catholic churches in the area. The parish sacramental records will remain at the St. William parish office, 200 Pettaconsett Ave, Warwick, for the forseeable future.
St. William Church was first established as a mission of St. Matthew Church in Cranston. The original church building was erected on land bounded by Harrington, Perry and Majestic Avenues in the Norwood section of Warwick. The church building was dedicated as St. William’s Chapel on April 11, 1926, and in 1933, a parish was established.
The City of Warwick grew over the years and so did the parish. In 1958, six acres of land was purchased for the site of a new church and was completed and dedicated on March 20, 1960. The rectory was relocated from its original location in 1974 and the parish center was constructed two years later.