ENFIELD, CT – A significant drop in attendance at Enfield’s three Catholic parishes, coupled with an increased number of priests reaching retirement age, has led the Archdiocese of Hartford to implement sweeping changes to the structure city parish.
Studies of Catholic church attendance in Enfield show a 33% drop since 2016. Additionally, St. Adalbert’s Church has been closed for some time due to structural, health and safety issues discovered during a routine insurance inspection.
A letter to Catholic residents of Enfield from Archbishop of Hartford Leonard Blair sets out the following plans for St. Adalbert, St. Martha, St. Patrick and Holy Family churches, effective July 1.
- The three parishes will be united into one parish on several campuses under the patronage of Saint Jeanne Jugan, with Father John Golas as pastor. The names of the churches will remain the same.
- Father Mathew Kappalumakkel remains Parish Vicar, with an additional Parish Vicar eventually becoming available, but not on a permanent basis.
- Father Anthony Bruno will continue to assist as long as he can, remaining in Senior (retired) status.
- Father Robert Villa will work full-time in the Connecticut State Correctional System at various prisons, depending on his assignments. Father Villa will remain in residence at St. Martha’s Presbytery and celebrate what Pope Benedict has called the Extraordinary Form of Mass in accordance with Pope Francis’ instructions, as well as Mass in Spanish each weekend at St. Martha. He and other clergy will celebrate Masses in English at various churches, albeit on a different schedule – weekends and daily.
- When it is possible to reopen St. Adalbert’s Church, it will be for weddings and funerals only – not regularly scheduled masses.
- St. Bernard School and Little Angels Catholic Preschool will continue to operate, but as a ministry of the new larger parish in the town of St. Jeanne Jugan.
Blair also said, “For only the second time in over 100 years, we have no men ordained to the priesthood this year.”
A transition committee will be formed with representatives from each of the three parishes, as well as the Spanish-speaking community and schools, Blair said.