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Two St. Louis area Catholic churches set to merge this summer

"Sometimes change can be scary, but I think this is a much better alternative than our parish having to close potentially in the future," said Father Brian Fallon.

For decades, the two parishes have been located in two different locations in St. Louis. Since 1911, the Maronite Catholics of St. Raymond has served the city's Lebanese community just south of downtown.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary opened its doors in Crestwood in 1956 to serve a boom in Roman Catholics in South County.

However, later this summer the two congregations will merge.

"There's a new partnership with the Maronites that will be here at St. Elizabeth," Father Brian Fallon tells 5 On Your Side.

Father Fallon's parishioners at St. Elizabeth and St. Raymond will become one. Something Father Fallon admits hasn't been easy for some.

"It's kind of been a mixed bag, so some people are trying to wrap their head around this and say like well gosh this is going to be a big change," said Father Fallon.

 "A big change," he says is necessary for St. Elizabeth to keep thriving and serving others.

In recent years, the parish went through several priests.

Attendance fell and some feared the church would have to close its doors.

"I think this is a much better alternative than our parish having to close potentially in the future. Sometimes change can be scary," added Father Fallon.

Father John Nahal, the current pastor at St. Raymond, will lead the combined churches.

St. Elizabeth's Father Fallon, will be assigned a new parish when the churches merge on July 1st.

"It's a huge opportunity for the faithful of this parish," said Peter Frangie, the Spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and a Maronite Catholic himself.

Frangie also thinks the merging of the two diverse ministries will be good for both and the Catholic Church in the long run.

"It's going to be a bigger, closer-knit community and I just think there's a huge opportunity for that," said Frangie.

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