No cash, attendees cause closure of St. Mary's Bay church
A string of Catholic churches set to close along Newfoundland's Southern Shore are facing what a parish finance chair calls an inevitable closure.
Eugene McDonald, finance chair of the Good Shepherd parish on the Irish Loop in St. Mary's Bay, said cancelling mass at five churches in the area is unavoidable.
He said in a congregation of about 3,000, only around 10 per cent attend mass on a regular basis.
"We are spending more money than we take in, in any year, and right now we are in debt," he said.
"The finance committee has reviewed it, we met with all six communities over the past couple of months and we made a recommendation to the archbishop that masses no longer be held in five churches."
McDonald said a declining — and aging — population, paired with one priest dashing between 10 churches had made for a difficult situation.
He said the hope is to reduce the number of masses being held, creating a more stable and consistent schedule for people to attend.
"These churches have been in the community for a long, long time, and we understand the people's frustrations and concerns at not having mass in the community. The unfortunate part about it is the financial wherewithal to carry it on is not there," said McDonald.
St. Anne's in Peter's River was formally decommissioned over the weekend, and the fate of the other five has yet to be determined.