Two Schoharie County churches have been recommended for closing as part of a restructuring initiative within the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.
According to an announcement distributed at Sunday’s Mass at St. Anna’s parish in Summit, a local planning group including parishes in Schoharie, Otsego and Delaware counties has recommended that St. Anna’s, as well as St. Joseph’s in Schoharie, be closed under the two-year initiative, “Called to Be Church.” St. Mary’s parish in the Otsego County village of Schenevus was also recommended for closing by the local panel.
Those recommendations will be passed along to Bishop Howard Hubbard and another panel will review the recommendations, with Hubbard scheduled to announce a final determination early next year. Diocesan spokesman Kenneth Goldfarb said this morning he believed the diocese had not formally received the recommendation from the local planning group, but said the timetable for considering the recommendation remains unchanged.
“Called to Be Church” was first announced in June 2006 to address declining Mass attendance, a shortage of priests and changing demographics within the diocese.
In its announcement, the planning group cited the small enrollment at St. Anna’s – it said about 80 families are listed on the parish’s census – and the proximity of St. Joseph’s to St. Catherine’s parish in nearby Middleburgh as the reasons for the recommended closings. St. Joseph’s would be merged with St. Catherine’s under the terms of the recommendation, while those who attend St. Anna’s would be left to attend the most convenient nearby parish.
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