Archdiocese Announces Decisions In Pastoral Planning Initiative For Parishes In South Philadelphia And Delaware County

Background Regarding Today’s Announcements

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has reviewed recommendations of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee and made decisions regarding three parishes from South Philadelphia and two parishes from Delaware County taking part in the ongoing Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative.

The South Philadelphia Parishes are from Pastoral Planning Areas 630 and 640: Annunciation B.V.M. Parish (PPA 640), Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish (PPA 640), and Saint Rita of Cascia Parish (PPA 630).

The Delaware County parishes are from Pastoral Planning Areas 330 and 340: Sacred Heart Parish (Clifton Heights; PPA 340) and Saint Charles Borromeo Parish (Drexel Hill; PPA 330).

These parishes began the process in February 2016. At that time, information was shared with all parish communities involved and a public announcement was made, which can be found at http://archphila.org/archdiocese-of-philadelphia-announces-continuation-of-parish-area-pastoral-planning-initiative/. 

Today’s Announcements Involving South Philadelphia Parishes (Annunciation B.V.M., Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, and Saint Rita of Cascia)

The pastors and three representatives from each of the parishes met over the course of several weeks to formulate a recommendation on how their parishes could collaborate.  The models of parish collaboration discussed were merger, by which two or more parishes are completely combined into one parish, and partnership, by which the pastoral leadership and administration of the parishes are combined, but they otherwise remain as separate parishes. 

The members of the local committee made four recommendations, which are outlined below.

  • All three church buildings should remain open.
  • The National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia should remain an independent entity.
  • Saint Rita of Cascia Parish and Annunciation B.V.M. Parish should merge at the location of Annunciation B.V.M. Parish.
  • Annunciation B.V.M. Parish and Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish should enter into a partnership.

After review by the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee and by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests, this proposal was thoroughly reviewed by Archbishop Chaput, who gave his approval. The plan will become effective in June of this year. It is expected that time will be needed after the effective date for all elements of the merger and partnership to be put into place.

Priests from the Augustinian order will continue to provide pastoral care and leadership at the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia. Additionally, the Augustinian order will continue to provide a pastor and pastoral staff for ministerial programs at both Annunciation B.V.M. and Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parishes.

Today’s Announcements Involving Delaware County Parishes (Sacred Heart and Saint Charles Borromeo)

The pastors and three representatives from each of the parishes met over the course of several weeks to formulate a recommendation on how their parishes could collaborate.  The models of parish collaboration discussed were merger, by which two or more parishes are completely combined into one parish, and partnership, by which the pastoral leadership and administration of the parishes are combined, but they otherwise remain as separate parishes. 

The members of the committee recommended that a partnership between the two parishes would be the best option for future viability.

After review by the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee and by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests, this proposal was thoroughly reviewed by Archbishop Chaput, who gave his approval. The plan will become effective in June of this year. It is expected that time will be needed after the effective date for all elements of the partnership to be put into place.

Contextual Background on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Process 

In the fall of 2010, a pastoral letter was issued to parishioners throughout the Archdiocese.  It outlined the necessity of an in-depth examination of all parishes in order to gauge whether they possessed the necessary resources to remain vibrant and sustainable faith communities.  This process, known as Parish Area Pastoral Planning, is designed to be as collaborative and consultative as possible.  Its goal is to provide pastors, in collaboration with their lay parish leaders and parishioners, with the opportunity to work with the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee in providing joint recommendations for parish growth within their respective geographic areas.

During the process additional steps are taken to be as inclusive as possible.  In the majority of cases, the regional bishop and dean meet with pastors as well as their pastoral and finance councils to hear their concerns and receive their recommendations which are brought before the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee, the Council of Priests and the College of Consultors for their observations and recommendations.  Input and consultation from of all these groups is provided to the Archbishop. 

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Editor’s Note: There are 219 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, comprised of 44 Pastoral Planning Areas (PPAs). For more information on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning, please visit http://archphila.org/features/parish-planning-initiatives/.

 

Contact:

Contact: Kenneth A. Gavin
Director of Communications
215-587-3747