October 31, 2016
(PAWTUCKET) – Due to significant safety concerns as well as a significant parish debt, and a major decline in Mass attendance and sacramental practice, Father Timothy Reilly, Administrator of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Pawtucket and parish trustees and members of the parish finance council, have requested that St. Maria Goretti Church be permanently closed. After consultation with diocesan staff, the Diocesan Consultors and the Council of Priests, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has given his approval and parishioners were notified during Mass on October 29 and 30, 2016. The final Mass is scheduled for Sunday, November 20, 2016.
“The closing of St. Maria Goretti Church is very sad, but now unavoidable,” said Bishop Tobin. “We thank God that the church has served several generations of Catholics and has helped them along the path of salvation. We hope and pray that in the strong and unshakeable faith of the parishioners, the legacy of the parish will live on. I am deeply grateful to all who have served and supported the parish over the years.”
Several serious safety issues are affecting the church building including significant leakage from the church roof skylight, fire code deficiencies in the church and the boiler-failure just ahead of the winter season. The minimum estimated cost of the repairs is close to $70,000. There is also a substantial parish debt of approximately $440,000 affecting its long term viability.
A gradual population decline at the parish resulting in low Sunday Mass attendance and a recent plummet in the sacramental activity of the parish are also contributing factors. Currently, there is no parish religious education program and recent Sunday Mass attendance has plunged to just 135 individuals.
Every effort will be made to continue the ongoing spiritual and pastoral care of parishioners who are encouraged to attend Mass at nearby churches in Pawtucket, Providence and North Providence. For the immediate future, all sacramental records will remain at the Saint Maria Goretti parish office, 165 Power Road., Pawtucket.