Manchester Catholic Diocese to reopen Nashua city church
Friday, May 20, 2016
By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
NASHUA – The Catholic Diocese of Manchester plans to reopen the former St. Stanislaus Parish in Nashua as a separate parish in which Masses and the entire life of the parish will follow the traditional Latin rite liturgy, church officials said Thursday.
This is the first time the diocese, which encompasses all of New Hampshire, will open a new parish in at least 15 years – an era marked by many parish mergers, a high-ranking church official said. It is also the first church-sanctioned parish to open in New England that will be dedicated solely to the traditional liturgy that was in force in 1962 prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the church official said.
The diocese intends to reopen St. Stanislaus Parish in August and staff it with a Roman Catholic priest from the Priestly Society of St. Peter, Bebbington said. The clerical society is in full communion with the Roman Catholic church, whose priests are trained in the Latin rite, or Tridentine, tradition and sent to serve in parishes in the United States and the world, he added.
The parish initially will be staffed by one priest and a second is expected to arrive about a year later, he said.
Bishop Peter Libasci is opening the parish in response to Catholics who have requested it, according to diocesan spokesman Thomas Bebbington.
“He’s heard fairly consistently from a lot of Catholics around the state that they have a deep affection for the traditional – the pre-Vatican II era – Mass,” he said. “He has been looking for some way to fulfill that need.”
St. Patrick Parish in Nashua and St. John the Baptist Parish in Suncook currently are the only two that offer Latin Masses. But the Masses are only celebrated in Latin once a month. They will continue to offer the monthly Latin Masses, the church official said.
Unlike traditional parishes that serve specific geographical areas, this new parish will be formed as a “personal parish” that will not be confined by territorial boundaries, but will serve a specific population that wants to participate in the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, Bebbington said. Not only will the Mass be celebrated in Latin, but baptisms, weddings, funerals and other sacraments will follow the Latin rite, he said.
As a personal parish, it would be similar to the national parishes formed in the 19th century specifically to serve ethnic groups and offer Masses in their native languages, Bebbington said.
St. Stanislaus Parish, which was set up to serve Polish-speaking Catholics, closed in 2002 and merged with St. Aloysius de Gonzaga Parish. Since then, the church no longer operated as a parish, but remained open as a chapel for Eucharistic Adoration.