September 3, 2017

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Closure of Worship Site in West Philadelphia

Our Mother of Sorrows Church will no longer serve as a worship site of
Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

Contextual Background

In January 2013, Our Mother of Sorrows Parish merged with Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish, both located in West Philadelphia, as part of the Parish Areas Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. 

At that time, the Our Mother of Sorrows Church building became a worship site of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish and was available for the occasional celebration of Mass, funerals and weddings as is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger. 

Additional information regarding the merger can be found at the following link http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2013.html.

Today’s Announcement

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has approved the relegation of the Our Mother of Sorrows Church building to profane but not sordid use effective October 9, 2017.  This formal, canonical designation means that the church will no longer serve as a worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church. 

This information was shared with Saint Ignatius of Loyola parishioners at all Masses during the weekend of September 2-3.  A copy of the official canonical decree regarding this matter can be found at http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Signed-Decree-of-Relegation-Signed-by-CJC-and-SPB.pdf.

The formal request to close this worship site originated from the parochial administrator of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish together with his parish pastoral and finance councils.  The request was then reviewed by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests and presented to Archbishop Chaput, who, after a careful review of all supporting factors, made the final decision.  

Additional Background

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish incurred expenses exceeding $100,000 associated with care for the properties associated with the former Our Mother of Sorrows Parish.  Furthermore, at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish experienced a deficit of approximately $230,000 while having an approximate savings of $17,000.  During the same fiscal year, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish maintained an approximate debt of $80,000. 

Since May 2016, one Mass per month was celebrated at Our Mother of Sorrows Church. That monthly Mass was discontinued in February 2017 due to minimal attendance.  No funerals or weddings have been celebrated. 

When Our Mother of Sorrows and Saint Ignatius of Loyola merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Our Mother of Sorrows Parish were transferred to the newly formed Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish.  These transfers are standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers. 

As such, the former Our Mother of Sorrows church building, along with the former school building and former convent is the property of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish.  The future disposition of these buildings will be determined by the parochial administrator of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for parish viability and sustainability.  

###

Editor’s Note: For comprehensive information regarding Parish Area Pastoral Planning in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit http://archphila.org/features/parish-planning-initiatives/ .

Contact:

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