Holy Trinity, Blessed Sacrament parishes unify in Greenfield

  • Bishop William Byrne, middle, and Pastor Michael Pierz, right, during a ceremony unifying the Holy Trinity and Blessed Sacrament parishes on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Bishop William Byrne during a ceremony unifying the Holy Trinity and Blessed Sacrament parishes on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Pastor Michael Pierz during a ceremony unifying the Holy Trinity and Blessed Sacrament parishes on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • A ceremony was held unifying the Holy Trinity and Blessed Sacrament parishes in Greenfield on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2022 4:07:48 PM
Modified: 8/19/2022 4:04:22 PM

GREENFIELD — For the first time in more than 60 years, the Catholic community in Greenfield is united under a single parish, following a recent unification ceremony.

During Sunday’s Mass at Holy Trinity Church, residents packed the pews while the Rev. William Byrne, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, conducted the unification of Holy Trinity and Blessed Sacrament parishes. Although the two churches will remain separate, a new singular parish — dubbed “Blessed Trinity” — will better “focus (the churches’) efforts and (their) energies for the whole of Greenfield,” according to Pastor Michael Pierz, who took his Oath of Fidelity as pastor on Sunday.

“The churches remain,” Pierz said, “but we as a parish, as a whole and a community, are united.”

Holy Trinity Church, the first Catholic church in Franklin County, was established in 1868 and remained Greenfield’s sole Catholic church for roughly a century, according to Blessed Trinity’s website. Blessed Sacrament was established as a parish in 1960 before a corresponding church was completed in 1970. Establishment of a second church, Pierz said, was necessitated by a population overflow in the community.

Pierz said reunification half a century later is a matter of embracing one of Catholicism’s philosophies: it’s not “either/or,” but “both/and.”

“They are one, but yet they are individual,” Byrne said during the unification ceremony. “So in this process, Holy Trinity doesn’t stop being Holy Trinity. Blessed Sacrament doesn’t stop being Blessed Sacrament. … We are simply becoming consubstantial.”

“As much as we have two separate histories,” Pierz said, “we really have one future together.”

Pierz said logistically, Masses, staffing, typical operations and other services offered between Greenfield’s two Catholic churches will remain largely the same. Unification merely pools certain resources, he explained, citing the consolidation of each church’s bulletin into one as an example.

“Instead of having two of everything doubled, we’ll be able to have one to focus our efforts and our energy,” Pierz said. “We have all of these wonderful human and physical resources to do that work and that mission for the wonderful care of souls.”

Pierz noted that the new Blessed Trinity parish will remain open to change in the name of progress, however. He voiced enthusiasm for input from Greenfield residents both Catholic and non-Catholic, should the community express a desire for something different.

“The church is not stuck in time. The church is always seeking the best ways to seek the eternal truths of God,” he said, also citing advancements in technology and social media as promising tools. “We as the church respond to the challenges of our own times.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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