Last Thursday (June 18) a Channel 13 reporter and cameraman were at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Greece talking with people about the possible closing of the parish. An OLM parishioner who happened to be present tells me he was told the station was pursuing a "larger story" that involved the situation at OLM.
Last night Channel 13's Patrice Walsh aired the following. If there is indeed more to come she did not mention it.
Two Roman Catholic churches in the town of Greece could be closing.
Although it’s still a recommendation, with dwindling attendance, mounting bills and a priest shortage, church members fear it will happen.
Jack and Pat Howell's son was married last weekend at Holy Name Church in Greece. The Howells now attend Our Lady of Mercy Church.
Both churches were created at a time when the church was growing and Kodak was hiring.
The future of both parishes is uncertain, at best.
“Yes, we are very attached, we will miss that sense of community” Jack Howell said. “It's a big part of people's lives, it's a big part of our lives.
A committee of the Rochester Catholic Diocese is studying the future of six churches in Greece. It has recommended the closing of the Holy Name of Jesus and Our Lady of Mercy churches.
This is not a mandate; nevertheless parishioners fear it could happen. Some people are sad, others are angry. Attendance at both churches is down, and they must share one priest. Closing both buildings would save an estimated $500,000, which, the committee say,s (sic) could be used to make the four remaining parishes stronger.
Deacon Dick Lombard has worked at both churches. “I'm sad at the possibility. I'm sad for the people…the pain they feel,” he said.
Both churches have been open with parishioners about the recommended closings, but according to the diocese, no final decisions affecting the future of any of the parishes have been adopted by the full committee.
There are several churches within miles of each other in Greece that could absorb people if these churches close.
The diocese cautions that there is no final decision yet, and Bishop Matthew Clark will have the final say.
A decision is expected in six months to a year.