In decades past, Butte boasted 10 Catholic churches within its city limits.
As the years passed, one by one, four of those neighborhood churches, Sacred Heart, Holy Savior, St. Lawrence, and St. Mary would close its doors.
After this past weekend, add two more to that list.
On Saturday and Sunday, dozens of Butte Catholics attended the final Masses said at Butte Catholic Community Central’s St. Joseph Church and St. John the Evangelist Church.
The main celebrant for the services was Bishop Austin Vetter of the Diocese of Helena, who told members of both congregations that they had every right to feel anger, disappointment and frustration, because it was a day of sadness.
“Something we love has to change, but there’s a home for you always in His church,” said Bishop Vetter. “You are not forgotten.”
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Over the last year or so, the Diocese of Helena had asked church officials in Butte to evaluate the needs of each individual parish and requested their input when planning for the future.
“No bishop wants to close the doors of a church,” said Bishop Vetter. “But it’s my responsibility to be the caretaker