HAVERHILL — The Boston Archdiocese said it hopes to name a temporary leader as early as next week for All Saints Parish.
This week, All Saints lost its pastor, the Rev. Dennis Nason, who resigned as he battles cancer. That leaves the parish with one priest — the Rev. Michael Harvey.
Archdiocese spokesman Terrance Donilon said a temporary administrator of the parish might be named within a week.
"We will be assigning a pastor there in very short order so that folks feel a sense of stability and Father Nason won't have to worry about the care of the parish," Donilon said. "We have a dedicated and talented team of clergy personnel who are working on this.
"The process will be to get through the next weekend perhaps, and then name a temporary while we search for a full-time pastor," Donilon said. "Our first priority is to pray for Father Nason and to provide all of the support he needs and I know the parish joins us as we do this together.''
Donilon said the archdiocese is looking for a pastor who will be a good fit for All Saints, which was established in 1998 through a merger of four Catholic parishes in Haverhill — St. Rita, St. Michael, St. George and St. Joseph. All Saints is in the former St. Joseph Church, near Lafayette Square.
Nason is the only pastor All Saints Parish has had since it formed. He is credited with drawing together parishioners at a time when they were sensitive about the closing of their smaller churches, some feeling resentment.
Nason has been on leave from his duties for nearly two months as he battles lymphoma, a form of cancer. In a letter read at Mass on Sunday, he said for the good of the parish and the sake of his health, he has decided to resign. He is in the intensive care unit of Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.
Donilon said during the replacement process, local pastors will be consulted along with others in the Catholic community.
"We are already in the process as we are concerned about stability and to ensure the faithful that we are thinking about them," Donilon said about the search to replace Nason. "I don't want people to feel this will be left in limbo for an extended period of time and I expect that in short order we'll have an idea as to what the next steps are."
Nason is the second pastor who has left his position this year among Haverhill's Catholic churches.
In June, St. John the Baptist's pastor, the Rev. Keith LeBlanc, stepped down amid allegations of financial improprieties. The Rev. Paul Coughlin filled in as interim pastor until the archdiocese named the Rev. Robert Murray, who is pastor of St. James Church on Winter Street, as pastor of St. John the Baptist as well.
The two parishes have a historical connection. Many families worshipped at St. James, but as more people settled in Riverside they began to think it was time to start a parish of their own.
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