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NORWICH – There will be no closures or mergers of Chenango County’s Catholic parishes in the near future, Diocese of Syracuse officials said Monday.

After announcing over the weekend that St. Paul’s and St. Bartholomew’s in Norwich would remain open, the diocese confirmed that St. Malachy’s, Sherburne, St. Joseph’s, Oxford, Immaculate Conception, Greene, St. Theresa’s, New Berlin, St. John the Evangelist, Bainbridge, and St. Agnes’ Mission, Afton, would not be closed anytime soon, either.

Father James Lang, diocese director of Pastoral Planning, said Chenango County’s rural makeup poses physical challenges to restructuring at this time. Mainly, he says it’d be difficult to ask or expect area parishioners to travel the distance and terrain to another house of worship if their church were closed.

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