Monday, Nov. 09

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has amended its plan to merge five parishes in Northampton.

Under the new plan announced Sunday, Sacred Heart Church will stay open as the home of the new parish and St. Mary's of the Assumption will close instead.

The diocese in August announced that Sacred Heart, St. John Cantius, St. Mary's, Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Annunciation would merge and create a new parish at St. Mary's.

Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont tells The Republican of Springfield after hearing concerns about the lack of parking and handicapped accessibility at St. Mary's, officials decided Sacred Heart should be the home of the combined parish.

All churches will close Jan. 3 and the new church will open Jan. 4.

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Information from: The Springfield Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/