Saint Margaret of Scotland in Waterbury is the only church scheduled to be deconsecrated thus far, with no announcement from the archdiocese as to what will happen with the building itself. Additionally, 26 church buildings will close, and will not hold regularly scheduled Mass times.
The archdiocese has developed a 200-page manual to help ease the process, which includes 26 sections offering suggestions on the transition of employment, cemeteries, parish records, and a check list for merging parishes.
Questions have been raised about what to do with some of the items donated to specific churches. The manual mentions that any sacred objects, like tabernacles, monstrances, and chalices, are not to be become an individual’s property.
The manual suggests establishing sub-committees, with representatives from each merging parish, to aid the transition, including the turnover of objects and parish archives. Developing a strategic plan is also encouraged to help create a guiding mission statement, and an assessment of the risks and goals surrounding the transition.
Not only do the archdiocese’s guidelines map out programs to facilitate the physical changes, but they also offer personal and community-led prayers to help with anxiety and stress over the move.
The pastor of Saint Rosa Lima in New Haven is one of the over 40 priests who are being reassigned in the new project, and he has established a transitional team, creating an opportunity for prayer and dialogue to help prepare his parishioners for the adjustment.