Wales

Two more north Wales Catholic churches to close

Photo of St Michael's, Conwy
Image caption St Michael's Church, Conwy, is one of two to close

Two Catholic churches in north Wales are to close, with more to follow soon.

Mass will be celebrated for the last time at St Michael's in Conwy and Sacred Heart in Old Colwyn on 11 February.

Worshippers at St Michael's plan to appeal against the closure, saying the church is a "viable and vibrant community".

They have threatened to take their fight to keep their church open to the Vatican.

Image caption St Michael's closes its doors to worshippers for the final time in the new year

Bishop of Wrexham Peter Brignall, who leads the Catholic Church in north Wales, said: "This process is not yet complete and there are more closures to come as needs demand.

"All closures are painful, but early in the new year the situation in the diocese is to change again.

"With judicial restructuring of parishes and closure of churches, I am confident that mass will be celebrated in each remaining church every Sunday of the year."

The latest closures, announced to worshippers at Sunday services before Christmas, followed a decision last year to shut 22 churches across north Wales.

Some members of the congregation at St Michael's in Conwy said they plan to appeal against the closure.

Vatican appeal planned

Worshipper Anne McCaffrey said: "Parishioners are heartbroken and struggling to come to terms with this threat of closure now made real.

"With such a small percentage of Catholics in the Wrexham Diocese attending church, it seems perverse to close a vibrant and viable church against the expressed wish of those who attend there.

"To close a church building there needs to be grave cause, a technical term in church law. St Michael's Church is structurally sound, financially viable with strong community. There is no grave cause here to close the church.

"I will be launching a formal appeal for the decision to be reversed, taking it to Rome if necessary."

The closure of the two north Wales churches leaves a total of 134 across Wales.

The Anglican Church has a total 1,319 churches in use.

The most recent census, in 2011, revealed Wales had the highest number of people with no religion in the UK.

A recent survey carried out by the National Churches Trust for places of worship in Wales - including non-conformist denominations, Catholic churches and Church in Wales properties - found the biggest problem facing them was falling congregations and attracting new worshippers.

More on this story