Two New Bedford Catholic schools are merging into one under a new plan announced by the Diocese of Fall River on Wednesday.

Holy Family Holy Name School will consolidate with St. James-St. John School to join together as a new school, under a new name yet to be chosen, at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

Bishop Edgar da Cunha said the decision wasn't made lightly.

"We are called upon to wisely manage the challenges like aging buildings, changing demographics, flagging enrollment and the conditions that COVID has compounded," he said in the announcement.

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Both schools have long been anchors for developing Catholic identity in young people of New Bedford.

"Rather than sinking our resources into costly upgrades of the aging HFHN building, we will invest in renovating the current CYO Building, behind St. James-St. John," DaCunha said.

DaCunha assured parents and students that the transition will be a smooth one that will weave together the traditions and academic excellence of both schools. 

Later today, parents are urged to join in an important Zoom meeting regarding the new future of the two schools. Parents should have received an email to participate; contact information can be found on the special announcement page for the school merger.

There have been a lot of mergers in the past few years for the Catholic congregants of the SouthCoast. A successful merger created the thriving of All Saints Catholic School from the predecessors of St. Mary's School.

The merging includes churches as well. At the end of January, many parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help will find a new home at St. Anthony of Padua Parish on Acushnet Avenue.

Bishop da Cunha said he hopes and prays the parents of the students will share the excitement the consolidation will bring.

Look Inside New Bedford's Abandoned Orpheum Theatre

New Bedford's Orpheum Theatre has been vacant for decades, but artifacts remain in place as an ode to its rich history. Let's go inside.

WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

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