February 28, 2011

Waterville Catholic churches announce reduced Masses

Morning Sentinel Staff Report

WATERVILLE — The parish serving Catholics in the greater Waterville area announced to its members this weekend that the number of available Masses would be scaled back.

Corpus Christ Parish identified three such services that would be discontinued after March 6 — 5:30 p.m. Saturday, at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Fairfield; 6 p.m. Saturday, at Saint Theresa in Oakland; and 8:30 a.m. Sunday, at Notre Dame in Waterville.

Father Joseph Daniels, the parish's pastor, made the announcement in a letter that was read to parishioners at this weekend's Masses. He cited a shortage of available priests assigned to cover the existing Mass schedule.

"We will be increasingly reliant upon retired priests and permanent deacons to administer sacraments," Daniels' letter read. "... In determining this schedule, it was my desire to keep all of our churches open by offering at least one Mass at each church and to retain as much as possible those Masses with the strongest attendance. "

The parish still offers three Masses on Saturday and six Masses on Sunday, including a 4:30 p.m. service at Colby College in Waterville, Daniels said. While the reduction in Masses is expected to last at least four months, Daniels also said the parish will need to eventually grapple with a longer-term problem: the number of shrinking Catholics attending church in the Waterville area.

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