St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Woonsocket to close

Steady decline in Mass attendance, sacramental practices, parish income


WOONSOCKET — As the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence continues to restructure its parishes in response to the new realities that were recently outlined in the diocesan Pastoral Profile, another local parish, St. Charles Borromeo, Woonsocket, is set to close early next year. The final Masses will be celebrated on the weekend of January 11/12, 2020. Parishioners were informed during weekend Masses on November 16 /17.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin granted the request of Father Joseph Upton, administrator of St. Charles Borromeo Parish and the parish trustees to suppress the parish and permanently close the church building following a thorough pastoral planning process, and consultations with diocesan staff, the diocesan College of Consultors and the Council of Priests.
“At this time of transition, I extend my prayerful support to all members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, which has been a source of stability and strength for faithful families for generations,” said Bishop Tobin. “Let us continue to rely upon God’s goodness and providence as we begin a new chapter in our common journey of faith.”
The number of registered families in the parish declined from 190 in 2012 to approximately 90 today. Mass attendance decreased from approximately 230 in 2012 to approximately 90 for both remaining weekend Masses. Sacramental practice has also declined from 2015-2018, there were just 37 baptisms; two children received First Communion; there were 17 Confirmations and no weddings. Since 2012, only two children received First Penance and First Communion.
In addition, impending costs related to the church building and repairs for projects including the replacement of the church roof ($140,000), renovations of the church’s heating system (exceeding $200,000) and stained glass windows (exceeding $232,000) are significant. Annual parish income has plummeted by nearly 50% over the past five years.
All sacramental records of St. Charles Borromeo will remain at their current location, the rectory office of All Saints Parish, 323 Rathbun St., Woonsocket where they will be maintained for the faithful. The assets, debts and liabilities of St. Charles Borromeo Parish will be assumed by the Diocese of Providence, in accord with Church (canon) law.
St. Charles Borromeo Parish has served the Irish Catholic faithful in the city of Woonsocket since 1846.
The Canonical Decrees are available on the diocesan website,