Unofficial plan for churches could come in April

NORWICH – An unofficial plan outlining how the Catholic churches of Chenango County will operate with two fewer priests is likely to be announced by the end of April, one local priest confirmed Friday.

Parishioners were told in May as part of a sweeping church closure and merger campaign by the Diocese of Syracuse that the fate of the county’s seven parishes would be revisited later this month when “interdiocesan” discussions are completed.

Those discussions, slated to start at the end of the month, involve the Diocese of Syracuse and the Diocese of Albany sharing priests in rural parishes along their border on the eastern edge of Chenango. It’s part of an overall consolidation proposal submitted by local priests and their congregations over a year ago at the request of Syracuse Bishop James Moynihan.

The other half of the proposal: Have two priests run the five churches in the middle of the county along the Rt. 12 corridor.

Combined, both reconfigurations would lessen the number of priests in Chenango from five to three, a move in-line with the Diocese of Syracuse’s goal to do more with less in a severe priest shortage.

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