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July 4 - Winchester Churches Have New Pastors

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By Joyce Westner

The Rev. Paul Clifford arrived this week as pastor of the new collaboration between St. Mary’s and St. Eulalia’s Roman Catholic Churches.  The Boston Archdiocese started combining its nearly 300 parishes in 2012 into about 135 collaboratives led by one pastor.  Under the plan, each parish will keep its separate identity and also control of its own property and assets.  As Clifford told his parishioners today, “It’s not as bad a deal as Chicken Little is telling you it is.”  Clifford grew up in Norwood and after working for a while, “felt a call” and was ordained in 1992.  Most recently he’s been at a collaborative in Braintree—this will be his third collaborative. 

In an unusual move, the archdiocese also assigned Clifford’s assistant priest from Braintree to St. Mary and St. Eulalia’s parish.  The Rev. Valanarasu Newton-Williamraj is from India and was ordained two years ago.  Preferring to be called Father Valan, according to Clifford, he’ll be arriving this coming weekend from India where he officiated at the marriage of his brother. 

St. Eulalia’s Pastoral Associate Louise Cocuzzo feels “confident in the transition.  Father Paul,” says Cocuzzo “seems very open to discovering the unique personalities of each parish.” 

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