Following discussions among church officials that began in July and a unanimous vote by Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley and his advisers, Saint John the Evangelist Parish and Holy Rosary Parish will merge and become one parish in February, 2021.
The Rev. Chris O’Connor, pastor at St. John the Evangelist, 220 Winthrop St., and administrator at Holy Rosary, 1015 Shirley St., explained the process of the merger of the parishes at the two Catholic churches in Winthrop, which the distinguished clergyman himself called “a little complicated.”
“The two parishes will become one,” said the Rev. O’Connor. “We have two churches, so what will change is the name of the parish. Parishioners will be invited to contribute names for the new parish and also then vote for what the parish name should be. However, the names of the churches will remain the same.”
The Rev. O’Connor also clarified the current schedules of Masses following a breakdown in the boiler system at Holy Rosary Church.
“The boiler is broken at Holy Rosary and we are out of funding there,” said the Rev. O’Connor. “That means for at least the foreseeable future, all Masses will be held at St. John the Evangelist Church.”
The Rev. O’Connor has been the pastor at both Winthrop churches since June 1. He will be the pastor at the new parish.
The Rev. O’Connor said the new parish will become official when Cardinal O’Malley, who is the Archbishop of Boston, signs the decree on Feb. 1, 2021.
The Rev. O’Connor had to appear before Cardinal O’Malley and his advisers for the merger to be considered and ultimately voted upon.
“Cardinal O’Malley’s 34 advisers voted unanimously on their recommendation for a merger,” related the Rev. O’Connor.
The Rev. O’Connor said all Masses will be held at St. John the Evangelist “in the foreseeable future.”
“There is considerable work [in addition to repairs for the boiler] that needs to be done to Holy Rosary Church,” said the Rev. O’Connor. “The church needs $131,000 for a renovation of the bricks, and $75,000 in repairs for the roof.”
In closing, the Rev. O’Connor explained that the new name of the parish cannot be a combination of the two parishes’ names. “We cannot use either St. John the Evangelist or Holy Rosary,” he said. “It has to be a new name. But the new name will come from the people. This is their parish. The people will decide on three names. We will forward those names to the Cardinal and he will select one of the three names.”