Church Project Theorem: Consolidation
A Roman Catholic specialty, consolidation occurs when a parish (or group of parishes) are no longer financially sustainable on their own, and are combined into a new parish entity.
This can involve two parishes, three parishes (as is the case with Our Lady of Hope), or sometimes even more, if the situation or geographic area is dire enough.
When they consolidate, the Archdiocese plays the percentages and gambles that one consolidated parish will have a better chance than two or more struggling ones. Thus, they pick one of the churches, merge all of the others into it, and create a shiny new name to symbolize the dawn of a brand-new, hopefully very profitable day.
Consolidation is truly the ultimate indignity a parish can suffer. It means a failure of their mission and, more importantly for the sentimental, the end of an era. Name changes can also upset longtime parishioners, who often have a hard time accepting that their church is now called something else. The whole thing is truly like a big scarlet letter, marking a church for all eternity. And despite efforts to the contrary, usually no good can come of it. Such parishes generally never, ever recover their previous splendor.