PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The friars announced this week that on Nov. 7, the Province will be closing its 55-year-old St. Francis Chapel. This is a decision based on finances and personnel, said Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM.
Steven Patti, OFM, executive director of the chapel and pastor the Church of St. Mary on Broadway, announced at Masses on Tuesday that the facility must close because of the chapel’s deficit budget and the number of friars available to work at the ministry. “Even if we had the finances, we still don’t have the personnel,” said Steven in “A Downtown Sanctuary to Close” from the Oct. 26 Providence Journal.
John said the increasing costs of the chapel coupled with decreasing donations are the main factors necessitating the closure. The decreasing number of friars adds to the problem. “Our Province, like many religious communities, does not have enough men of working age available,” he said. The average age of an HNP priest is 68.
Since 1956, the friars of Holy Name Province have served the people of the downtown business neighborhood with Masses, confessions and other services. Sadly, the amount of foot traffic is less than it was years ago, meaning fewer come to the chapel, said Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM.
The Provincial Council had been discussing the future of the Providence chapel for several months and made its final decision to close the chapel late last week after findings of a financial review were completed.
Editor’s note: The photo above of Steven (center), Michael Joyce, OFM (left), and Scott Brookbank, OFM. (right), is courtesy of the Providence Journal. More details about changes in the Providence ministries will be provided in the Nov. 9 issue of this newsletter.