PROVIDENCE — After months of consultations between the parishes and the diocese, a request by the pastor to merge Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish into Holy Ghost Parish in Providence has been approved by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin. The church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel will close permanently effective July 1, 2016. All sacramental records will be located at Holy Ghost Parish, 472 Atwells Avenue, Providence.
“The closing of a parish is always a sad moment, especially for the members of the parish who were so faithful for so many years,” said Bishop Tobin. “We know however that sometimes change is inevitable, in the church as it is in every family. The spiritual and pastoral needs of the faithful will continue to be met at another great and historic parish, Holy Ghost, also on Federal Hill.”
It was announced by the diocese in November 2015 that due to concern for the health and safety of its parishioners caused by significant physical and structural deficiencies of the building, that Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church would close indefinitely. The costs of those repairs were estimated at $1.2 million. In addition, the decline of the number of parishioners and the parish debt surpassing $250,000 was also taken into consideration. The last Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church was celebrated on November 8, 2015.
Bishop William J. Hickey established Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish in Providence as a new Italian parish in 1920. The first Mass was celebrated by its first pastor, Father Nicola Armento in the Cathedral basement until 1921 when Benevolence Hall was purchased and renovated. As membership grew a new church was needed and construction began at its present location. The new church building was dedicated and blessed in 1925. There are currently 230 parishioners at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Holy Ghost Parish was founded in 1889 by the Missionaries of the Venerable Bishop John B. Scalabrini for Italian immigrants. The first Mass was celebrated by its first pastor, Father Luigi Paroli, member of the Scalabrini Fathers, in the basement of the Cathedral. A small chapel was later used until a new church was built and dedicated in 1890. Holy Ghost was staffed by the Scalabrini Fathers for more than 120 years prior to being staffed by the Diocese. There are currently 1100 parishioners at Holy Ghost.