82-year-old Providence church to close

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Catholic church that has been part of Providence’s Smith Hill neighborhood since the 1930s will close this summer.

The Providence Diocese announced Wednesday that St. Casimir Parish on Smith Street will shut its doors for good on July 1. According to the Diocese, the church has significant structural damage that is too costly to repair, and Mass attendance has declined sharply in the last few years.

“We salute the steadfast faith and devotion of Lithuanian Catholics who have worshiped at St. Casimir’s over the years, but time has taken its toll, and the closing is now unavoidable,” Bishop Thomas Tobin said in a statement.

According to the Diocese, leaks in the church’s roof have caused extensive water damage to the walls and ceiling. Concerns about the building’s structural integrity forced St. Casimir to suspend worship in mid-March. Fixing the church’s roof would cost around $90,000, which the Diocese said was “well beyond financial reach.”

The Diocese said only 12 people attended the final Mass on March 19. In addition, there were no Baptisms, First Communions or Confirmations at St. Casimir from 2014 to 2016. Only one wedding took place there during those two years.

The Diocese said they would make “every effort” to take care of St. Casimir’s remaining parishioners. St. Patrick Parish will house St. Casimir’s sacramental records.