January 28, 2013

Maine church holds off on decision about closing

St. John the Evangelist's parishioners need some questions answered, but their pastor says the parish is moving toward a ‘clear consensus.’

By Beth Quimby bquimby@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Monsignor Michael Henchal, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in South Portland as well as three other local Roman Catholic parishes, told parishioners on Sunday that he will get them answers about a possible sale of church buildings and options for joining another parish.

Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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St. John the Evangelist Church in South Portland is struggling with dwindling membership and funds.

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That’s because there are historical ties between the two churches and most people who go to St. John, on the west side of the city, already shop and do business in Scarborough, he said.

Henchal said that once he gets a consensus from the congregation, he will go to his parish pastoral council for their recommendation, and if they all agree he will go to the bishop. The final decision would rest with the bishop after he consults with three diocese councils.

Maine is without a bishop since Richard Malone left the post for a job as bishop in Buffalo, N.Y.

On Sunday, parishioners expressed regret and resignation about the possible closing.

“We knew it was coming, but I hate to see it,” said Helen Nadeau of South Portland, who has belonged to the church for more than 20 years.

Janet Malia of South Portland, who joined the church 49 years ago, said a church closing would be painful.

“It would be the worst thing that ever happened to us. I cried my heart out when I heard,” she said.
Frank Maguire of South Portland said the closing is inevitable.

“We don’t have enough people,” he said.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

bquimby@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Parishioner Jane Malia says closing would be the “worst thing.”

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Parishioner Frank Maguire says closing is “inevitable.”

 


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