St. John the Baptist Parish closing
When the news came about three years ago that the St. John the Baptist Church in New Bedford would potentially close, I took the news with a grain of salt. Being a reporter for many years, I’ve heard plenty of stories like this.
But this one was personal.
I grew up down the street from the church and was baptized and confirmed at the church. I was even an altar boy there for many years.
I know a lot of painstaking work went on behind the scenes to save the church after the initial announcement in 2009..
“The decision to close any parish is never easy or made without careful deliberation and consultation. In the case of St. John the Baptist Parish, the decision followed a more than two-year-long study of its viability and concentrated efforts aimed at its renewal,” said Diocese of Fall River spokesman John Kearns. “
The oldest Portuguese Church in the nation and dating back to 1871, the present St. John the Baptist Church was built in 1913 after the original church was lost to fire in 1908.
The potential closing of St. John’s is not an isolated incident. Since 2002, 20 parishes in the Fall River Diocese have closed.
“The problem at St. John’s is a problem of many urban cities and the changing of demographics which have gone on over the last 30 years, not only happening in New England but in the midwest and other parts of the country,” said Reverend Oliveira.