Chenango priests shuffle duties

NORWICH – Although not official, Catholic priests in Chenango County say they are devising a plan to possibly re-distribute their duties across dioceses in order to keep all eight area churches open and head off a foreseeable priest shortage.

According to Father Douglas Cunningham of St. Paul’s and St. Bartholomew’s Church in Norwich, area pastors have been in discussions with local priests from the Diocese of Syracuse and Albany to try and figure out the best way to allocate their resources, without having to close any churches. Cunningham explained that in the unofficial plan, parishes in close proximity but separate dioceses, such as St. Theresa’s in New Berlin (Syracuse) and Holy Cross Church in Morris and Edmeston (Albany), would share one priest that could be from either jurisdiction. A similar plan would be in place for St. John’s in Bainbridge and St. Agnes’ in Afton, which would share one priest with Sacred Heart Church in Sidney.

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