NEW BEDFORD — Starting this month, the three Catholic parishes in the North End of New Bedford will unify into one single new parish called St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish.

The Fall River Diocese announced the change Monday, noting that the three Catholic parishes in the north of the city have been linked — sharing priests, programs, and administrators — for the past two years.

Also, due to the pandemic, for most of the past year all three parishes have also gathered in one church for Mass and other liturgies.

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Our Lady of Fatima, St. Joseph-St. Therese, and St. Mary parishes will formally become St. Gabriel the Archangel on Oct. 11.

Its worship site will be located at St. Mary’s Church at 343 Tarkiln Hill Rd.

Father Sudhir Nayak and Father John Raposo, who currently serve as co-pastors of the three-parish collaborative, will jointly lead the new parish.

A parish core council of lay leaders representing all three parishes, administrative staff and pastoral leadership have been planning the transition for many months, according to the release from the diocese.

In August, leaders requested, and received, approval from Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha to move forward with the plan.

“Over two years ago, our parishes came together as a collaborative to leverage our tangible and intangible assets and to better serve and provide for the spiritual needs of our parishioners,” the parish core council wrote in its letter to Bishop da Cunha.

The council added that parishioners also "began to feel comfortable being one community.”

“It is a pleasure to celebrate the beginning of the new parish of St. Gabriel Archangel at St. Mary’s Church in the North End of New Bedford,” said Nayak.

“Although transitions can be difficult, new beginnings can be a rich blessing for those who respond to God’s love and direction...We thank those who have made this new beginning a reality.”

Raposo was first pastor at Our Lady of Fatima and then became co-pastor of the New Bedford North parish collaborative upon its inception.

He noted that as it became increasingly difficult to maintain three separate parishes, “the work was begun to unite all three into one community of faith. That work has come to fruition with the establishment of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish."

All three churches of the current parishes will be offering extended adoration time this week and Bishop da Cunha will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at each parish this weekend.

Sacred items from all three churches will become part of the new parish.

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