Bishop Richard Joseph Malone of Portland has approved the plans to merge Westbrook’s Catholic parishes and sell two churches in the city.

At masses this past weekend, members of St. Anthony’s parish received a notice from Malone’s office in the weekly church bulletin confirming Malone had signed off on the plan to move parish operations to St. Hyacinth’s Church and subsequently sell the St. Edmund’s and St. Mary’s properties.

Sue Bernard, communications director for the diocese, said a potential buyer has been identified for the St. Edmund’s property. She said she did not know the identity of the potential buyer. She added there has also been some interest in the St. Mary’s property but also didn’t know the identities of anyone who had expressed interest in that church.

St. Anthony’s Pastor Rev. Reggie Brissette, was out of the office Tuesday morning and did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.

Once the church properties are sold, Bernard said all of the money from the sale would remain in the parish and be used for the necessary renovations to St. Hyacinth’s. Plans for the Brown Street church call for a complete renovation of the lower parish hall, making it into a two-floor space for parish offices, classrooms, meeting rooms and a chapel. The remaining money from the sale would be used to help offset the cost of parish operations.

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