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The Boston Globe

Metro

Pillar in Portuguese community is closing

New Bedford church served generations, has mounting debt

NEW BEDFORD - A Catholic church that has been a glittering and vibrant part of the Portuguese community here for a little more than 140 years will be closing its doors and merging with another neighborhood parish, the Diocese of Fall River has announced.

In a statement released Monday and posted on its website, the diocese said St. John the Baptist Parish, which was established in 1871 and calls itself the first Catholic church serving the Portuguese community in North America, will close and merge with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, though a date for the merger has not been set. The diocese cited mounting debt and declining membership for the decision.

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