Maine Catholic Parishes Merge 

The Portland Diocese says church consolidations are creating two new parishes, in York and Hancock counties. The Catholic diocese says the consolidations took effect as of the first of the year. In southern Maine, parishes in South Berwick, York and Kittery are merging to form the Parish of the Ascension of the Lord. On Mount Desert Island, parishes in Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor are merging into a single Parish of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The mergers are part of the diocesan plan to strengthen the church’s evangelical mission while having fewer priests. (AP)