CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Three more Roman Catholic churches in the Camden Diocese will soon be consolidated into a new parish that will serve nearly 1,700 families.

The latest change, which takes effect April 6, involves churches in Camden and Gloucester counties.

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Bishop Joseph Galante says Annunciation in Bellmawr, St. Ann in Westville and St. Maurice in Brooklawn will combine to form the St. Joachim Parish. The Annunciation church will serve as the worship site and seat of the new parish, which will serve about 1,685 families.

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 32 merger decrees since June 2009, and several have been met with resistance from some churchgoers.

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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.

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