2010 HATFIELD – After nearly two years of debates, two local parishes have agreed to join together under the name of Our Lady of Grace and adopt St. Joseph Church as their home church.
In one of the first rounds of church closings in Western Massachusetts, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield announced St. Joseph Church and Holy Trinity Church would each close and two would together create a new parish, Mark E. Dupont, diocesan spokesman said.
Parish councils worked together but could not agree which building to use. They finally asked Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell to look at both churches and make a recommendation.
“When two parishes have to join together, both have strong feelings for their church but sometimes factors make it an easier decision,” he said. “In this case it was a toss-up.”
Typically members look at size, location, parking, condition of the buildings and other factors, he said.
While McDonnell recommended St. Joseph’s Church be used for the new parish, he advised the parish consider keeping Holy Trinity and use it as a parish center, Dupont said.
A parish center is typically used for sizable church gatherings and special events. In some occasions it can be used as a community center or for regional gatherings for the diocese, he said.