CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Two more Roman Catholic churches in the Camden Diocese will soon be consolidated into a new parish that will about serve 2,240 families.
The latest merger, which takes effect June 22, involves churches in Gloucester county.
Bishop Joseph Galante says Our Lady of Lourdes in Glassboro and Our Lady Queen of Peace in Pitman will combine to form the Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish. Our Lady of Lourdes will serve as the seat of the new parish, but both churches will be used as worship sites.
The consolidation is the latest in a series of mergers in a diocesan-wide reconfiguration meant to strengthen parishes and improve pastoral care to members. Galante has now issued 33 merger decrees since June 2009, and several have been met with resistance from some churchgoers.
In making their decisions, church officials have considered several issues, including population and demographic trends, the number of diocesan priests available for ministry, Mass attendance and trends in religious practice.
Once the process is completed, church officials say the consolidations will reduce the number of parishes in the diocese from 124 to 68.
The Camden Diocese includes Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester and Camden counties.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)