Parish mergers happen. When they do, sometimes a new name is cobbled up to identify the new entity. Sometimes, however, names of churches are changed.
From a reader:
There is a parish in my diocese that was formed years ago through the
merger of two ethnic parishes. Over the course of time, the smaller of
the two was torn down and the congregation still uses the second of
the two churches. 2012 will be the 125th anniversary of the dedication of that church. The parish is advertising it, though, as the 125 anniversary of the dedication of the parish, which did not come about until some 60 years after the dedication of the church. Can they do this? It was my understanding that once a church is dedicated, it
cannot change its name.
My understanding is that the name of church cannot be changed without the permission of the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
Churches are dedicated or consecrated with a name. In the rite of consecration of a church, the walls were washed and anointed. The building is a thenceforth a sacramental. Like a living thing, it is given a name. These names cannot be changed unless there is great need.
If the name of a church has changed, it is reasonable to wonder of permission was sought. I repeat that it is my understand that permission is necessary. I am happy to be corrected if it is not necessary.