Five more Catholic churches to close in Maine

Posted Aug. 24, 2009, at 1:35 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s Catholic diocese is closing five more churches because of tight finances and changing demographics.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says Notre Dame de Lourdes church in Saco and St. Mary of the Assumption church in neighboring Biddeford will close at the end of the year. St. Andre church in Biddeford will close at the end of 2010.

In Lewiston, St. Joseph and St. Patrick Catholic churches will close sometime in October.

There are now six Catholic churches in the Biddeford-Saco area.

Church officials say the Catholic population in those areas is declining, the number of weddings is down sharply and the weekly collections have been dropping about 10 percent a year. At the same time, expenses for employee health benefits and building maintenance and repair have been rising.

Church officials in Lewiston plan to ask the Diocese for permission to place the church buildings, including the rectories, on the market for sale.

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