After months of speculation, parishioners at Saint Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church in Blackville can breathe a sigh of relief as they learned that their church will remain open in the restructuring of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint John.
Nine churches in the diocese will close and 31 priests will tend to the remaining 70 churches.
As part of the restructuring, the parishes of St. Raphael’s, St. Joachim in Boiestown, Our Lady of Annunciation Church in Doaktown and St. Bridget’s in Renous will be merged into one new parish effective September 1, 2018. The four churches will serve as worship sites, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Howard will be a mission church of this parish. Two priests will serve the new parish.
Father Godwin Kalu made the announcement at Sunday Mass at St. Raphael’s, relayed from Bishop Robert Harris.
Five churches in Saint John and one in Fredericton will be closed, along with three small mission churches in the Miramichi Region: Church of the Holy Family in Barryville, Church of All Saints in Millbank and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Millerton.
Originally, 27 churches, including Blackville, were at risk of closing.