ATTLEBORO – A church that served as a home for the city’s Portuguese community will no longer be a full-fledged parish, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River has announced.
However, the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Catholic Church at 71, rue Linden will not close its doors. It will regain its historical name of Church of the Holy Spirit and will continue to serve as a chapel for Saint-Jean-l’Évangéliste. Both churches operated under a single pastor, jointly known as the Attleboro Roman Catholic Community.
By decree of Bishop Edgar da Cunha of the Fall River Diocese, the property and records, as well as debts, of St. Vincent de Paul will go to St. John when St. Vincent officially closes its doors ( the technical term is “deleted”) from 1 January. Spanish and Portuguese masses will continue at the Church of the Holy Spirit. Reverend Craig Pregana will continue as pastor of both churches. He could not be reached for comment on Friday evening.
It was not clear whether St. Vincent’s various charitable activities, including the annual Festival of the Holy Spirit, a staple in the city since 1974, would continue.
The Roman Catholic parishes of Saint Joseph and the Holy Spirit merged into a single parish located in the former Church of the Holy Spirit on Linden Street in 2013. The churches already shared a pastor with Saint John the Evangelist as part of an arrangement that started earlier that year. .
St. Joseph’s on South Main Street eventually became the home of the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Holy Family.
The combined parish, with a large number of Spanish and Portuguese speaking members, became the Church of Saint Vincent de Paul. Offering masses in English, Spanish and Portuguese, it was only the third trilingual parish in the Diocese of Fall River.
Change has not always gone smoothly.
In February 2020, Reverend Dariusz Kalinowski, then pastor of the dual parish, informed parishioners of his decision to resign in a terse statement in the parish bulletin after months of controversy over his decision to end Portuguese masses in St. Vincent de Paul. .
The bishop brought back these Masses as a “trial” and they continued in Saint-Vincent de Paul. Pregana was brought on board as pastor of the Combined Parish in March of the same year.
Holy Ghost was established as a parish in 1921, serving the Portuguese-speaking community centered in the Lonicut district of the city. The current Linden Street Church was consecrated in 1964.
This is not the first closure of a Roman Catholic parish in the city.
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, a landmark on Main Street South for 137 years and the center of religious life for dozens of French-Canadian immigrants, their descendants and others for over a century, was demolished in 2013 after being closed by the diocese in 2010.
The parishioners of St. Stephen combined with those of St. Mary’s in Seekonk to form a new church, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, which is located in the old St. Mary’s Church.
The drop in attendance and the shortage of ordained priests affected all the parishes in the city.
Where there were once five Catholic parishes in Attleboro, today only St. John and St. Therese of the Child Jesus remains in south Attleboro.