WELLAND – The final Mass at St. Augustine parish will be celebrated tomorrow, Sunday, January 1 at 10:30 a.m.
The church, in the city’s Welland South neighbourhood, opened in 1952.
A meeting was held Saturday, June 25 with parishioners to notify them of the decision to close their church. The news was announced by the bishop.
The recommendation to take that step came from a lengthy parish discernment process for the parishes of Welland.
“The most notable outcome of the process is the decision to close St. Augustine Parish,” the bishop of St. Catharines diocese, Gerard Bergie, wrote to clergy June 28.
Declining attendance over a period of years was a factor in the decision to close the parish. One of the weekend Masses, 5 p.m. Saturday, was attended on average by about 15 worshippers, a parishioner said.
Another reason that was given is the parish is hurting financially.
A committee of parishioners organized a petition campaign in the fall and had a meeting with the bishop to try and win a reprieve for the parish. They wanted the decision to close deferred for a year, one Mass to be celebrated weekly by a retired priest and also suggested a maintenance plan for upkeep of the site but their efforts were to no avail.
The diocese has recommended that parishioners attend St. Mary parish, at Hellems Avenue and Griffith Street.
Some parishioners have said they will make their own decision about the parish they will go to, with Sts. Peter and Paul parish, 300 Chaffey St., being a popular choice.
The celebrant for tomorrow’s closing Mass will be Bishop Bergie.