Two Charlestown parishes to merge

BRIGHTON — The Archdiocese of Boston announced that two parishes in Charlestown will merge, according to a statement dated April 1. St. Mary and St. Catherine of Siena Parishes will form a new parish, which will be named St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish, on April 18.

“I believe this to be a very positive decision for everyone and especially for the Church in Charlestown,” said Father James J. Ronan, who currently serves as pastor at both parishes and will be the pastor for the new parish.

On Oct. 31, 2004, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley asked that the three parishes of Charlestown work to become one parish, serving that diverse and historically Catholic neighborhood of Boston. This merger is the first step in that process.

The merger was unanimously endorsed by the pastoral councils and finance councils of both parishes. The councils have recommended that no church building be closed until the one parish in Charlestown is finally established. Decisions about the future use of other parish facilities will be made after broad and thorough consultation within the new parish.

Natalie Rizzo, vice chairperson of the parish council at St. Catherine’s, commented, “We feel that this is a unique opportunity for us to help build the foundation of the new church in Charlestown.”

Gerry O’Neil, the vice-chair of the council at St. Mary’s noted, “This action will best allow us to serve both the immediate and long-term needs of our parishioners.”

For the time being, Mass schedules will remain the same. The new parish will be staffed by Father Ronan and Father Linh Ngyun, as well as a secretary, business manager, director of music and liturgy, director of religious education and director of parish social ministry.