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Four ESL churches will consolidate to one


East St. Louis, Ill. – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois will merge four parishes in East St. Louis into one in March.

St. Joseph, St. Patrick, St. Philip and St. John Francis Regis parishes will consolidate to become St. Augustine of Hippo on March 5.

Bishop Edward Braxton says the new parish will utilize the current St. Joseph's Church.

Former Bishop Wilton Gregory approved the consolidation of the churches a year ago, but left the final decision on which ones to close to his successor.

The diocese said more than two years ago that the number of priests serving the four parishes would drop from two to one by 2005 because of the declining number of priests available.