Almost a year ago, the Roman Catholic Church announced some parishes would have to close on P.E.I., and those changes are now being felt in western P.E.I.
With fewer people attending services, rising costs and a shortage of priests, the Charlottetown diocese has decided to close one church in western P.E.I., and leave five others open only for special occasions such weddings, funerals and baptisms.
"Given the resources and given the demographic realities, I guess that's what we have to adjust to," said Kerry Moore of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
Churches with reduced services
- Immaculate Conception, Brae.
- St. Bernadette's, Brocton.
- St. Mark's, Burton.
- St. Brigid's, Foxley River.
- Corpus Christi, Glenwood.
The community of Borden-Carleton, at the foot of Confederation Bridge, is losing its church, Sacred Heart. The last mass is set for Oct. 25.
"It saddens me, but it can't be helped," said Borden-Carleton resident Lorraine Arsenault.
"There's really nothing you can do about it."
Five churches in West Prince will no longer have regular mass. Parishioners there will have to travel to Alberton or Bloomfield. Father Michel Painchaud will soon be the only priest serving in the area.
"We've simply been continuing with a structure that we've inherited that no longer represents the demographics of where people are living and the resources that are available to us," said Painchaud.
"We either have to plan for the future or decisions will be made for us."
Some West Prince parishioners had asked that two priests continue to be retained for the area, and were disappointed that was not allowed. Others see the need for change, but remain disappointed that the churches, which have been the site of so many important events in their families, cannot remain in regular service.
Church officials say the decisions have been difficult, and will only get harder as more parishes are closed down.