SCARBOROUGH—The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has announced it is merging three parishes into the new St. John Paul II Parish, effective July 1.

The parish will encompass St. Bartholomew Parish in Cape Elizabeth, St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough and St. John and Holy Cross Parish in South Portland. Monsignor Paul Stefanko, who already serves as the pastor of all three, will serve as pastor of the new parish. The individual parishes will maintain their names, according to a statement from the diocese.

“For the most part, the average parishioner will not see any changes in the services or operation of the churches,” said Stefanko. “Our Mass schedule will not change and our … programming will remain the same with new programs under consideration.”

He said is was not a financial decision “as we have no debt in any of our parishes at this time,” but “an opportunity to connect three strong and proud parishes …”