Braintree: Boston archdiocese announces 1st phase of overhaul

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The Boston Archdiocese has announced the first phase of a dramatic restructuring that combines parishes into clusters that share clergy and resources.

The Roman Catholic archdiocese on Thursday released the list of its first 12 “collaboratives,” which include 28 parishes covering a geographic spread, from Weymouth to Billerica.

In Weymouth,  St. Jerome Parish will merge with Immaculate Conception.  Sacred Heart in Middleboro is merging with Saints Martha and Mary in Lakeville, which already currently share a pastor with a parish in Rochester.

The archdiocese says that by 2019, all 288 parishes will be grouped in about 135 clusters run by a unified lay and clergy leadership, including a single pastor. Each parish keeps its name, property and legal identity.

The overhaul is a response to weak attendance, failing parish finances and a priest shortage. It aims to build a stronger platform from which to evangelize and draw back Catholics.

Officials say the first phase includes evaluating how collaboratives deal with multiple parish budgets and language differences.

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