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Springfield Diocese details closing of 14 parishes

The Roman Catholic Church has announced which 14 parishes in the Diocese of Springfield it plans to close this year.
/ Source: WHDH-TV

The Roman Catholic Church has announced which 14 parishes in the Diocese of Springfield it plans to close this year.

The moves follow a four-year analysis by a planning committee, which recommended the closings in a 108-page report.

Under the plan given to parishioners Saturday, Chicopee will lose five of its 10 Catholic churches. Three churches will close in Springfield and three more in Northampton, with a fourth becoming a chapel. Holyoke, South Hadley, Easthampton and Hatfield will have three months to two years to consolidate parishes in those communities.

Diocesan officials say the closures are an unavoidable result of declining numbers of Catholics and population shifts.

Diocesan spokesman Mark Dupont says there are 101 parishes in Western Massachusetts and an estimated 220,000 Catholics.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)