PROVIDENCE — At the request of the pastor/administrator, trustees, and finance councils of the two parishes, and after consulting the diocesan College of Consultors, Most Rev. Richard G. Henning, D.D., S.T.D., Bishop of Providence, has approved the request to merge St. Alexander Parish into St. Mary of the Bay Parish, both in Warren, effective July 7, 2023. Parishioners were informed of the approval at Masses this weekend.
“I am grateful for the priests and people who, since 1915, have made St. Alexander’s Parish a place of encounter with Jesus Christ. I am also grateful for Father Upton and the parishioners who provided needed consultation on the plan to continue that sacred mission even in the midst of change,” said Bishop Henning.
“The people of St. Alexander and St. Mary of the Bay are grateful to Bishop Henning for granting our request for a formal canonical merger. We are eager to work together as a combined community of faith with shared resources in fulfilling our mission in Warren and beyond,” said Rev. Joseph R. Upton, pastor of St. Mary of the Bay and administrator of St. Alexander, “This process has brought our parish families together as one, not only in faith and service, but also in fellowship. We are eager to see what good things God has in store for us as a unified community.”
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Alexander Parish, located at 218 Main St., Warren, was confronting a diminishing demographic shift in population with a resulting decline in sacramental practice and parish viability. From 2016 - 2022, there were just three Baptisms, eight First Communion students, 17 Confirmation candidates, and three weddings at St. Alexander. In the same timeframe, St. Mary of the Bay Parish had 115 Baptisms, 108 First Communion students, 161 Confirmation candidates, and 31 weddings. Currently, St. Mary of the Bay Parish has approximately 1,700 registered households whereas St. Alexander has approximately 60. Since 2020, St. Alexander Parish has shared its priest-administrator with another parish. Within the past year, the St. Alexander Religious Education program was merged with that of St. Mary of the Bay Parish. Currently all weekday Masses and Holy day Masses are held at St Mary of the Bay Parish. There is neither an RCIA program nor adult-formation opportunities at St. Alexander Parish.
St. Mary of the Bay Parish will receive the membership of St. Alexander Parish. All sacramental records containing the records of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Marriage, and deaths of St. Alexander Parish will be transferred to the parish office of St. Mary of the Bay Parish, 645 Main St., Warren, RI, where they will be faithfully maintained in accord with Canon 535.