BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has announced it will merge two parishes in Allegany County by the end of the month.
St. Mark Parish in Rushford will merge with St. Patrick Parish in Belfast on March 25 and St. Mark's will become a Summer oratory to serve vacationers in the area.
The merger comes on the heels of the announcement of the retirement of longtime pastor Father Francis J. Jann of St. Mark Parish.
Father Jann had served as pastor of the Allegany County parish for the past 38 years, from 1974 until retiring earlier this year.
The merger has been expected since the diocese anticipated the retirement of Father Jann.
"A merger with St. Patrick seems the most appropriate arrangement since the parishes have a long history of collaboration and shared a pastor for many years," said Bishop Edward Kmiec.
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