February 24, 2014

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Orange County Catholic churches consider consolidation, construction of new church

Sacred Heart of Jesus in Highland Fallswould remain under
both scenarios

NEWBURGH – Two scenarios have been proposed to consolidate Catholic parishes in the Eastern Orange County area as a means of most effectively utilizing priests and minimizing operating expenses.

The proposals were presented to church congregations on Sunday.

One model would see Sacred Heart of Jesus in Highland Falls remain as is with three of the four parishes in the cluster consolidating – St. Francis of Assisi in Newburgh, St. Joseph in New Windsor and St. Thomas of Canterbury in Cornwall. A new church would be built on 26 acres of land held by St. Joseph Parish in New Windsor. Those three parishes would then become one congregation.

An existing school building would be used as a regional religious education center.

The second proposal would see Sacred Heart continue to operate independently but with maximum collaboration with the other parishes in the cluster.

The other parishes in the cluster would maximize the effectiveness of priests and minimize operation expenses by consolidating staff and programs and sharing of administrative, clerical and maintenance staff, services and programs including consideration of having a single administrative leader.

St. Joseph’s Parish, while continuing to operate as a Mission Church, would consolidate into St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish and St. Francis of Assisi Parish and a new parish be formed under one name with two churches; one in Cornwall and one in Newburgh.

If evangelization efforts are unsuccessful and a new parish does not grow in number of parishioners, the mission status of St. Joseph church would be terminated and the property of St. Joseph’s, namely the church and rectory, would be made available to the Archdiocese of New York for sale or lease.


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