Catholic parishes flourish

.- Only four years after it was created, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in LaGrange is ready to build a new 1,000-seat church.

The new Catholic church is needed to handle an explosion of growth in the young parish from 320 families in 2002 to 1,100 now, reported the Poughkeepsie Journal. The number of children in their faith-education program has also soared from 294 in 2001 to 720 today.

The current church, which has five masses per weekend, seats 315. Masses are standing room only, except for the 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning mass. Construction for the new church on Route 82 will begin this spring. The current church will be converted into classrooms for the parish faith program.

The $12-million construction is anticipating growth in the rural area of LaGrange, where farmland continues to be transformed into upscale subdivisions, reported the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Due to demographic shifts, parishes in the outlying areas continue to grow while the Archdiocese of New York considers closing or merging parishes in the New York City area. It is not unusual to find three parishes in a five-block area, many of them with sharply reduced attendance. The archdiocese must also consider its shortage of priests in its diocesan realignment strategy, which is expected to be announced soon.


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