December 6, 2015

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Closure of Worship Sites in Bucks and Montgomery Counties

In Bucks County, Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church (Levittown) will no longer serve as a worship site of Queen of the Universe Parish (Levittown) and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

 In Montgomery County, Saint Gertrude Church (West Conshohocken) will no longer serve as a worship site of Saint Matthew Parish (Conshohocken) and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

 

Background Regarding Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church

In July 2014, Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Parish merged with Queen of the Universe Parish (both located in Levittown) as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. At that time, each parish merged at the location and retained the name of Queen of the Universe.

At that time of the merger, the Immaculate Conception B.V.M. building became a worship site of the newly formed Queen of the Universe Parish and was available for the occasional celebration of Mass as well as funerals and weddings as is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger.

Additional information regarding that merger can be found at the following link: http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/calledtoconversion2014.html.

 

Today’s Announcement Regarding Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. relegated the Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church building to profane but not sordid use effective January 1, 2016. This formal, canonical designation means that the church will no longer serve as worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

This information was shared with Queen of the Universe parishioners at Masses during the course of this weekend. A copy of the official canonical decree regarding this matter can be found at http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Immac-Concep-Levitt.pdf.

The formal request to close this worship site originated from the pastor of Queen of the Universe Parish after consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils. Both of those advisory bodies supported the request, which 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 Regarding Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church

The Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church building requires annual ordinary maintenance costs of approximately $150,000. That figure is exclusive of deferred maintenance. Queen of the Universe Parish currently carries a debt of $962,938, most of which was inherited by Queen of the Universe from the former Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Parish. 

Queen of the Universe Parish is not able to financially sustain its vital pastoral works and alleviate its debt should it attempt to repair and maintain Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church. Doing so would jeopardize the stability of the parish. Additionally, there have been very few requests to use Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church for public worship.

When Immaculate Conception B.V.M. and Queen of the Universe Parishes merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Parish were transferred to the newly formed Queen of the Universe Parish. These transfers are standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.

As such, the former Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church building is the property of Queen of the Universe Parish. The future disposition of this building will be determined by the pastor of Queen of the Universe Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for continued parish viability and sustainability.

 

Background Regarding Saint Gertrude Church

In July 2014, Saint Gertrude Parish (West Conshohocken), Saint Mary Parish (Conshohocken) and Saints Cosmas and Damian Parish (Conshohocken) merged with Saint Matthew Parish (Conshohocken) as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. At that time, each parish merged at the location and retained the name of Saint Matthew Parish.

At that time of the merger, the Saint Gertrude Church building became a worship site of the newly formed Saint Matthew Parish and was available for the occasional celebration of Mass as well as funerals and weddings as is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger.

Additional information regarding that merger can be found at the following link: http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/calledtoconversion2014.html.

 

Today’s Announcement Regarding Saint Gertrude Church

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. relegated the Saint Gertrude Church building to profane but not sordid use effective January 1, 2016. This formal, canonical designation means that the church will no longer serve as worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

This information was shared with Saint Matthew parishioners at Masses during the course of this weekend. A copy of the official canonical decree regarding this matter can be found at http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/St.-Gertrude.pdf.

The formal request to close this worship site originated from the pastor of Saint Matthew Parish after consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils. Both of those advisory bodies supported the request, which 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 Regarding Saint Gertrude Church

The Saint Gertrude Church building requires annual ordinary maintenance costs of approximately $68,000. That figure is exclusive of deferred maintenance.  The former Saint Gertrude parish rectory, now vacant, is physically attached to the church and also must be maintained as long as the church is in use.  In addition, the church parking lot requires ongoing upkeep.  The additional costs associated with these portions of the property are approximately $40,000 annually exclusive of deferred maintenance. 

Saint Matthew Parish has endeavored to keep the Saint Gertrude Church complex in good repair and is currently able to meet its expenses. However, the growing pastoral needs of the parish have required a commitment to renovate space adjacent to the Saint Matthew Parish Church for pastoral, educational, and administrative purposes as well as general parish usage.  The commitment to this capital project precludes the ability of the parish to further maintain Saint Gertrude Church without negatively impacting the ministries of the parish. Additionally, there have been very few requests to use Saint Gertrude Church for public worship.  

When Saint Gertrude and Saint Matthew Parishes merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Saint Gertrude Parish were transferred to the newly formed Saint Matthew Parish. These transfers are standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.

As such, the former Saint Gertrude Church building is the property of Saint Matthew Parish. The future disposition of this building will be determined by the pastor of Saint Matthew Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for continued parish viability and sustainability.

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Contact:

Stephanie Brophy
Associate Director of Communications
215-587-3747 (office)