Local parishioners speak on church consolidation

GLASTONBURY -- 212 parishes  are shrinking to just 127, 59 new parishes being formed and 26 church buildings in New Haven, Litchfield, and Hartford counties will be no longer celebrating mass.

The practice of going to mass has also been suffering a major loss in the Hartford archdiocese, dropping 75 percent in the last 50 years.

William Panek and his wife have been coming to St. Paul in Glastonbury for about 60 years. It's been a part of their sunday morning routine, and they show up for 8 a.m. mass about an hour early and sit in the church parking lot. But today is the last day they're going to be able to do that.

"We used to have mass here at 8 and 10:30, and they're gonna change it to 11am. I don't care for it to be at 9:30 . Rather be going at it at 8, that's too late," Panek said.

It's because St. Paul will be merging with St. Augustine in South Glastonbury.

They are part of the 212 parishes that are shrinking to 127. 59 of the parishes are being formed, and 26 church buildings in new haven, Litchfield, and Hartford Counties will no longer be celebrating mass services.

While Panek was upset about the changes, John Ruggiero is hopeful.

"I'm very comfortable with the change and we're working to bring the groups together and I think it's a sign of the times that the Catholic Church is going through. That's why they're merging the churches, because attendance is down, you can see it.

Ruggiero is embracing it. He says the merging of the churches will mean more people in service.

These changes are effective  as of June 29th, and the new schedule will go into effect next Sunday, July 2nd.