Bishop Approves Sale of St. Patrick

I know that this action will be painfully sad for past parishioners of St. Patrick; it is indeed a sad situation for the whole Church of Providence.

Due to the increased closures of churches and transfers of of property over the past 75 years, there have been several principles established – all aimed at preventing the desecration of buildings or land that was formerly used as places of worship.

Accordingly, there will be no “For Sale” signs on the property, we will rely more on social media and internal communications among realtors.

The area of the town where St. Patrick now stands is zoned for commercial enterprises so the property will probably be used only for residential use. Regardless, one of the conditions of the sale is that future buyers cannot name the business or the residence after St. Patrick, to make it clear that any use is not an operation of the Catholic Church.

In Church Law, churches and cemeteries are deemed sacred, because of the presence of people. St. Patrick lost its sacred character when Masses were no longer held. St. Patrick Cemetery, as well as Mount Calvary, cannot lose their sacredness as long as the faithful are buried there.

St. Patrick Church, founded in 1861, was one of the earliest Catholic parishes in Rhode Island. Prior to 161, Catholics in Valley Falls and Lonsdale, mostly Irish immigrants, had to go to St. Mary’s in Pawtucket for Sunday Mass. As many of these Catholics were mill workers, there were few that had carriages. Instead they had to walk nearly three miles to and from St. Mary’s. In 1860, Father Patrick Delaney of St. Mary’s wrote to the “leading Catholic men” of Valley Falls calling for the establishment of a new parish and church.