Pawtucket church closes its doors after final Mass

(Brian Yocono/WPRI)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – A Pawtucket church celebrated its final Mass Sunday.

St. Maria Goretti Church will now close, according to the Diocese of Providence, because of dwindling attendance, financial problems, and “significant safety concrens.”

The church has served the Pawtucket community since 1953.

In a recent news release, Bishop Thomas Tobin said that the parish debt is approximately $440,000, and that the cost of repairing the roof skylight, the boiler, and several fire code deficiencies would cost an additional $70,000.

Parishioners turned out for the last Mass, with one worshiper suggesting that had attendance been that high every week, the church wouldn’t be closing. Others reacted with sad resignation.

“We taught CCD here,” said Christine Harrop, who was there with her husband David. “All our children have been baptized, we were married here. It’s a sad day.”

The Diocese encouraged those who worshiped there to attend Mass at nearby churches, and said that for the time being, all records will remain at the parish office on Power Road.