The Diocese of Allentown has notified the people who attend Mass at the Chapel of St. Vincent de Paul in Portland that the chapel will be closing.
The chapel is one of two churches operated by Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Bangor. Our Lady of Good Counsel is merging with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Roseto.
Both the Bangor and the Roseto churches will remain open after the merger, and will retain their names.
The changes are being made because there are fewer priests available to serve the faithful in the Diocese of Allentown. Previously, there were two priests in the Slate Belt region, making it possible to have Masses at three different locations each weekend. Now, only one priest is available to be assigned to the region.
“Young men are entering the seminary and being ordained priests,” said Monsignor David James, Vicar General, “but because of retirements and other normal attrition, there are fewer priests available than previously.
“With only one priest, it is just not possible for him to cover all of the required duties, including weekly Masses, confessions, and other sacraments, at three different locations.”
In the case of the Slate Belt region, the priest who was pastor of the Bangor and Roseto parishes decided to return home to Fiji. His religious order, which had assigned him and one other priest to the region, will no longer be staffing the two parishes.
Parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel and Our Lady of Mount Carmel learned of the changes at this weekend’s Masses. The changes become effective on Jan. 31.