HAGUE - Blessed Sacrament Church in Hague will merge with St. John the Baptist parish in Chestertown by the end of the year.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany made the announcement at weekend Masses Jan. 17 and 18.
Both the Hague and Chestertown churches will remain open and other operations will be merged, according to diocesan officials.
The diocese announced that 33 parishes will close during the next three years. That's about 20 percent of the churches in the diocese. Most of the affected churches are in Troy, Albany and Schenectady counties.
Other parishes, like Hague and Chestertown, will be merged.
The closings are part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany's effort to consolidate its parishes as fewer people attend church in urban areas each year. That, and a nationwide shortage of men entering the clergy, has created a need for consolidation in some cases, diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb said.
The announcement followed 18 months of meetings by a number of planning groups, which tried to determine geographic trends in the area and the number of priests able to serve there in the future. That information influenced their recommendations to Bishop Howard Hubbard, who had the final say.
Church officials will try to sell the empty buildings, many of which are 100 years old or more. That revenue will stay with the newly-consolidated parishes, according to church law.
Roman Catholic churches in Ticonderoga, Schroon Lake, Crown Point, Port Henry and Mineville are part of the Diocese of Ogdensburg and are not affected by the Albany decisions.