It's something that has been in the works for the past two years and many understand that it's the only way to keep both churches open. The churches are within 7 blocks of each other and have served downtown Decatur for 150 years.
One priest. Rev. Jefferey Grant, runs both churches and says the changing times and shortage of priests has made this merge essential to keep the churches open. He says parishioners have mixed reactions, "the initial reaction was of course sadness and shock i think some didin't understand and didn't want to lose their churches. But what i find now is there's a lot of anticipation."
The new parish will be called the Parish Community of Saints James and Patrick. Serving roughly 3-thousand people. Both buildings will remain open and there will be two masses at each church every weekend. A merger celebraion will be this sunday. They'll start mass at St.Pat's then walk to St. James where the worship service will wrap up.