MALONE — Malone Catholic Parishes — St. Joseph’s Church, Notre Dame Church, St. John Bosco Church and St. Helen’s Church — plan to consolidate under the name of St. Andre Bessette Parish.
“For years and years, they were first ones that shared a pastor and linked together,” said Sister Jennifer Votraw, chancellor and director of communications for the Diocese of Ogdensburg.
“They’ve been linked for a long time. The longer they link, it’s like a long engagement.”
‘FROM LINKED TO CONSOLIDATED’
The churches are moving from an engagement to a marriage under the direction of the Rev. Joseph W. Giroux.
“They’ve agreed and met and discussed it,” Votraw said. “They are going from linked to consolidated. They spent a lot of time informing their parishioners and going back and forth with their parishioners. The pastor has to be sure that the parish council and finance people give out financial information to all the parishes.”
Financial information is shared in a common letter or insert.
“So everybody reads the same thing about everything and anything that goes on about the consolidation or merger,” Votraw said. “You don’t want them to feel they are left out.”
Within the diocese, there have been 14 mergers impacting 28 parishes. Examples include St. John the Baptist and Immaculate Conception, which comprise the Roman Catholic Community of Keeseville.
Church of the Holy Name in AuSable Forks and St. Matthew’s Church in Black Brook comprise the Catholic Community of Holy Name and St. Matthew.
In Plattsburgh, St. John the Baptist Church, St. Mary’s of the Lake and the Blessed John XXIII Newman Center are linked.
‘STREAMLINES A LOT’
“The difference in Malone is there are more of them,” Votraw said. “Instead of two parishes doing this, there are four of them. The benefits don’t change a lot in parishioners’ lives. It streamlines a lot of administrative work: one financial report, one pastoral council and finance council.”