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BRAINTREE -- The merger of several parishes were completed during July and August, with several more expected in the coming months. While some had been in process for months, many were spurred by the financial pressures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
In April, the archdiocese asked parishes to consider the possibility of mergers to become financially stable in anticipation of the economic fallout of the pandemic and the lingering effects of the loss of parish revenue during the suspension of public Masses from March through May.
Since April, 18 parishes have merged to form eight new parishes and at least five more parishes are expected to merge by the end of the year.
Many parishes that have chosen to merge or are considering that option already belong to a collaborative of two or three parishes.
Father Paul Soper, secretary of evangelization and discipleship, said in a June 19 interview that a merger can be a "natural progression" in the relationship between parishes in a collaborative, since staff members have already worked together and built relationships with each other.
On April 1, St. Vincent de Paul Parish and St. Monica-St. Augustine Parish in South Boston became St. Monica Parish.
The following mergers became effective July 1:
-- Lynn: St. Mary Parish and Sacred Heart Parish, now St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish
-- Lynnfield: St. Maria Goretti Parish and Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, now Ave Maria Parish
-- Dorchester: St. Angela Parish and St. Matthew Parish, now Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish
The following mergers became effective Aug. 1:
-- Billerica: St. Mary Parish, St. Andrew Parish, and St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish, now St. Matthew the Evangelist Parish
-- Medford: St. Joseph Parish and St. Francis of Assisi Parish, new name to be determined
-- Quincy: St. Ann Parish, St. Mary Parish, and Sacred Heart Parish, now Divine Mercy Parish
On Aug. 6, St. Ann Parish and St. Brendan Parish in Dorchester became St. Martin de Porres Parish.
The merger of the Burlington Catholic Collaborative, consisting of St. Malachy Parish and St. Margaret Parish in Burlington, is expected to take effect Oct. 1. Its new name has not yet been determined.
The merger of Holy Mothers Collaborative in Hanover, which consists of St. Helen Parish, St. Mary Parish, and St. Thecla Parish, is expected to take effect Jan. 2021, according to the collaborative's website.