Churches, Parishioners Discuss Merging

July 22, 2010 Updated Nov 12, 2006 at 10:22 PM EDT

Parishioners from St. James, St. Patrick's, St. Thomas and Blessed Sacrament churches held a meeting at Seton Catholic Central School.

For months, leaders from those churches have put together what they think are the best options for their congregations.

At this meeting, some parishioners got to hear those plans for the first time and voice their opinions.

Parishioners walk into Seton Catholic to learn what their church leaders plan to submit to the Syracuse Diocese.

"I don't think any of these parishioners want to give up their church. But I think that we have to accept the changes that are coming," said Patricia Evans of St. Patrick's.

Evans and others learned the plans includes a proposal to merge her church, St. Patrick's, with St. Thomas Church in Binghamton.

Parishioners like Ronald Regon are happy to hear that proposal.

"I think it would be a crime to close St. Pat's. It's such a beautiful church and it's very centrally located in the community," Regon said.

Another part of the proposal would be to combine Blessed Sacrament with another church, or close it.

St. James church in Johnson City was the one church all leaders agree should be kept open, with little changes.

St. James has the largest of the four church congregations.

"I've been going there for a number of years and I like it there. And there's a lot of good people there and I don't want to see that church close," said Caroline Leskovich of St. James.

None of these recommendations are final.

Church Leaders will send this proposal along with parishioners opinions to the Syracuse Diocese, and hope to hear back by the end of January.

Any possible changes would start in July of 2007.

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