Two Rochester parishes — St. Augustine, 390 Chili Ave., and Our Lady of Good Counsel, 640 Brooks Ave. — have scheduled final Masses to mark the closing of their church buildings.
St. Augustine, founded in 1898, will have its closing Mass at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 23. Good Counsel, founded in 1928, will have its final Mass at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. Receptions at Logan’s Party House, 1420 Scottsville Road, will follow both Masses.
All are welcome to attend the Masses. Each church will open at noon on the day of its closing Mass to enable people to view the church and to pray.
St. Augustine’s and Good Council parishioners, meanwhile, are forming a larger community whose worship site will be at St. Monica Church, 831 Genesee St. The new community will be led by Father Ray Fleming, pastor of the Roman Catholic Community of the 19th Ward.
Both closing parishes belong to the 19th Ward/Corn Hill/Bull’s Head Planning Group, which also includes Ss. Peter and Paul, 720 W. Main St, which also will close at a date still to be determined. Its parishioners also will join the consolidated community at St. Monica’s, as will those of a fifth parish, Emmanuel Church of the Deaf, which formerly held its Masses at Our Lady of Good Counsel.
The closings came about after a multiyear planning process and a resulting recommendation by members of the Roman Catholic Community of the 19th Ward/Ss. Peter and Paul’s Planning Committee, which includes representatives from all five parishes. Bishop Matthew H. Clark approved the recommendation last fall.
In their planning, the parishes considered many factors, including the declining number of priests; reduced attendance due to a declining city population; the strength and efficiency of combining financial resources; and the desire to pool their resources for ministry in light of the various facilities’ ages and need for ongoing maintenance.
The closing Masses will include such ceremonies as the closing of the entrance doors by Father Fleming and the placing of wreaths on the doors.