In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I am now involved in helping facilitate the final liturgy at one of our local parishes. In this case, the parish has already been “dissolved,”  (not the technical term, I know!) re-named and become part of a larger cluster. This liturgy will be the final parish Mass at that particular site. The church building itself however will continue in use as the chapel for the area Catholic schools.  So my questions are:

1) The final parish Mass at that site will be on Sept 12  (24 OT) at 1pm (not normal Mass time).  I am assuming for most folks that that will be their only Eucharist that Sunday. One of the bishops will preside. My sense is that the Sunday readings would be used (for a variety of reasons).  Is that correct?

2) What is the technical name for transitioning a building from a parish church to a school chapel?  Is there anything else we should be aware of / think about? 

Thanks for your ongoing ministry in answering our questions….


A: These are emotional moments to be sure. 

On any Sunday in Ordinary Time, the bishop may decide, in cases of serious need or pastoral advantage, to celebrate a Mass for Various Needs and Occasions with its own prayers and readings. In the case you propose, he has the option of celebrating the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time or some other Mass, such as a Mass in Thanksgiving.

Regarding the proper terms for closing and uniting and re-purposing a building, those are canonical questions beyond my expertise. Here’s a link to a decree pertaining to a parish in my own diocese: Maybe it can help.