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A 'bittersweet' end at Sacred Heart

Church closes doors for final time

Father Leo LeBlanc in the now closed Sacred Heart Church with some of his dedicated parishioners. The church celebrated its last Mass on Sunday, May 22. From left, Elaine Martel, Deacon Thomas Skonieczny, LeBlanc, Lucille Tremblay and Doris Goudreau. (click for larger version)
May 30, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — When one door closes, another opens — literally.

On Sunday, May 22, Sacred Heart Church held its final Mass. Up until the closure, Notre Dame and Sacred Heart Church were part of the Notre Dame of the Sacred Heart Parish, which aligned the two churches into one parish.

"The final Mass was a good celebration, but it was bittersweet in some ways," said Father Leo LeBlanc, who has presided over Sacred Heart for 13 years. "It was very, very difficult and heartbreaking for many of our parishioners, but we had a full church and even former members of the parish and former priests came to say goodbye. Former pastor Norman Trembley, who is now a senior priest in Charlton, came to say goodbye."

Cousins Father Andre and Father Robert Gariepy, who both served as associate pastors, Sturbridge Priests Father Peter Precourt and Father Philip Bonvouloir, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Pastor Mary Gustafson and Father Peter Joyce, who presides over Notre Dame Church.

Since the two churches were under the same parish, the majority of Sacred Heart parishioners will start attending Notre Dame.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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