On June 29, 2017, in accordance with pastoral planning in the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and Saint Teresa of Avila Church in Woodbury merged to create the new Prince of Peace Parish. The Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford, says in his Decree dated May 2, 2017, “I have decided that the proper care of souls requires the merger of Saint Teresa of Avila Parish and Nativity Parish and the creation of a new juridic entity named, Prince of Peace Parish,” and that, “The rich legacies and histories of Saint Teresa of Avila Parish and Nativity Parish will be promoted and honored at Prince of Peace Parish with two church buildings: Saint Teresa of Avila Church and the Nativity Church.” To read the entire Decree, click here. To listen to a comprehensive radio interview regarding pastoral planning in the Archdiocese of Hartford click here.
The Reverend James T. Gregory, who had been serving as pastor of Saint Teresa of Avila Church since November 2015, was named the first pastor of Prince of Peace Parish. He was formally installed as pastor on October 15, 2017, during a special Mass in Bethlehem celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the building and dedication of the Church of the Nativity. October 15 is also the Memorial Feast Day of St. Teresa of Avila.
Rev. James T. Gregory, Pastor of Prince of Peace Parish, mingles water from the Nonnewaug River in Bethlehem with the water from the Weekeepeemee River in Woodbury during the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening at Saint Teresa of Avila Church. After blessing the water and the renewal of the assembly’s baptismal promises, Father Jim sprinkled the nearly 200 people gathered as a reminder of their common baptism in the risen Christ. On Easter Sunday he sprinkled the nearly 740 people who attended the three Masses at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem with the same mingled water. This was the first time the Roman Catholics of Woodbury and Bethlehem celebrated Easter as Prince of Peace Parish.