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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has announced that three parishes in Holyoke will merge this summer.

Bishop William Byrne said that Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and Immaculate Conception Parish will merge into St. Jerome Parish on August 15.  The diocese noted that the move comes at the direct request of the parishes following several years of discussion between them.

Father Mark Stelzer, administrator of St. Jerome Parish, said that the three parishes have been working closely towards a formal merger since July 2020 and that parish leaders "are convinced that the reconfiguration they have proposed will foster a stronger sense of community and promote a better sharing of resources."

Masses for the merged parishes will be held at St. Jerome Church with Immaculate Conception on North Summer Street being kept as a chapel.

Our Lady of Guadalupe parishoners have been worshipping at St. Jerome Church since last fall.  Their former place of worship, Sacred Heart Church, was closed in 2017 after plaster began falling from the ceiling.  At that time, masses were then moved into the parish center and chapel.

A new pastor and administrator for the newly merged parish will be named at a later date.

Sacramental records for Our Lady of Guadalupe and Immaculate Conception and the records of three other former Holyoke churches - Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and Precious Blood - will be moved to the offices at St. Jerome.

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