Two Woonsocket churches will merge following approval from Vatican

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – The Vatican has approved the merger of two Woonsocket churches according to the Diocese of Providence.

In a press release Monday, the Diocese wrote that the Vatican has approved their decision to merge St. Charles Borromeo Parish with the neighboring All Saints Parish in a decree dated July 16, 2020.

“The Vatican also affirmed the diocesan proposal to retain St. Charles Church building as a place of divine worship to be used on an occasional basis at the discretion of the Diocesan Bishop and the Pastor,” the Diocese wrote. “In issuing the Decree, the Vatican asserted that the appeal lodged against the diocesan decisions ‘has no foundation either in law or in fact and is rejected.'”

Parishioners of St. Charles had been fighting the decision for months. ABC6 spoke with them in January about how they’d bring their fight to the Vatican if they had to.

“We hope and pray that we can convince our good Bishop Tobin to rescind his decree,” said Richard Monteiro in January, a member of the Committee to Save St. Charles Church.

In response to the decision from the Vatican, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said, “I am very grateful for, but not surprised by, the ruling of the Vatican to uphold our decision regarding St. Charles Borromeo Parish.  Throughout this process we have documented very clearly the need to undertake these provisions and we followed exactly the requirements of the Code of Canon Law.  I pray that those who have objected to these decisions will now work closely with their local pastors and devote their energies to the renewal of the Church in the Woonsocket area.”

The final mass at St. Charles was held on January 12. In February, the Diocese announced the formation of a special task force to study the long term use of St. Charles Church building and to offer recommendations to Bishop Tobin.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island, Woonsocket