WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — The Vatican has cleared the way for the pairing of two Westmoreland County parishes.

About 100 parishioners at Saint Bruno in Greensburg filed for recourse from the Vatican that would have stopped the pairing with Saint Paul in Hempfield, but the recourse was denied.

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Parishioners found out this weekend through a letter in the church bulletin.

The action was taken after Bishop Lawrence Brandt announced earlier this year that the two parishes would be paired, meaning fewer masses at each church and also the sharing of a priest.

The Vatican’s decision was expected, but both sides were shocked at how quickly it came down.

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One reason cited was the fact that both churches will remain open. The Vatican also cited that church law does not guarantee a particular priest or specific mass times.

The case for recourse is now closed.

The priest of the two parishes will meet with parish councils this week to begin planning for the future of both parishes.

In a letter to parishioners, he asked for “prayers, patience and understanding” in the process.

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