Then and Now Sacred Heart Church

Sacred Heart is one of three North Attleboro parishes that will be merged. (Staff file photo)

NORTH ATTLEBORO — The bishop of the Fall River diocese has announced the parishes of Sacred Heart, St. Mark’s and St. Mary’s will merge into one.

The decree by the Most Rev. Edgar da Cunha was published in this week’s edition of the diocesan newspaper, The Anchor.

Friday’s announcement states that the parishes will be “suppressed” and the new Transfiguration of the Lord Parish will be erected at the three worship sites. The buildings and property will become the canonical property of the new parish.

The move is effective 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1. It was recommended by a committee made up of volunteers of the three parishes and disclosed at an informational session last month.

Rumors had circulated that at least one of the churches would be closed, especially after the transfer of the Rev. David Costa after almost two decades in North Attleboro.

The decree also states that the bishop had consulted with Costa’s successor, the Rev. Rodney Thibeault.

“A church is a physical structure, a parish is a community of like-minded individuals who form a community,” Thibeault told North TV. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, we have three assemblies that will be studying three particular areas.”

The areas are buildings and grounds, finance and administration, and pastoral needs of the community of parish life.

Thibeault added that he doesn’t know what the church in North Attleboro is going to look like in five, 10 or 15 years.

“I’m very sensitive to the needs, the spiritual attachment people have to a physical structure, but as St. Paul says, ‘the church is living stones,’ it’s not mortar, brick and wood.’”

Click below to watch North TV’s interview with the Rev. Rodney Thibeault.

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