July 28, 2019

Archdiocese Of Philadelphia Announces Closure Of Worship Sites In The City Of Philadelphia

Holy Trinity Church (South Philadelphia), will no longer serve as a worship site of
Old Saint Mary Parish, and will close as a Roman Catholic church.

 Our Lady of Ransom Church (Northeast Philadelphia), will no longer serve as a worship site of
Resurrection of Our Lord Parish and will close as a Roman Catholic church.

 Saint Rose of Lima Church (West Philadelphia), will no longer serve as a worship site of
Saint Barbara Parish, and will close as a Roman Catholic church.

Contextual Background

Holy Trinity Parish Merges with Old Saint Mary Parish (July 2009)

In July 2009, Holy Trinity Parish (South Philadelphia), merged with Old Saint Mary Parish (South Philadelphia). At that time, the Holy Trinity Church building became a worship site of the newly formed Old Saint Mary Parish and was available for the occasional celebration of Mass.

The Holy Trinity Church building has significant historical value, as it is the third Catholic Church built in the City of Philadelphia, and was the Church of the first national parish in the country, serving the Germans. Its exterior is historically designated and cannot be altered without the approval of the historical commission of the City of Philadelphia.

Our Lady of Ransom Parish Merges with Resurrection of Our Lord Parish (2017)

In July 2017, Our Lady of Ransom Parish merged with Resurrection of Our Lord Parish as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.   

Both parishes merged at the location and retained the name of Resurrection of Our Lord.
At that time, the Our Lady of Ransom building became a worship site of the newly formed Resurrection of Our Lord Parish. Additional information regarding that merger can be found at the following link: 

http://archphila.org/archdiocese-of-philadelphia-announces-closure-of-worship-sites-in-the-city-of-philadelphia-as-well-as-chester-and-montgomery-counties-2/

Saint Rose of Lima Parish Merges with Saint Barbara Parish (July 2013)

In July 2013, Saint Rose of Lima Parish (Haddington/Carroll Park) merged with Saint Barbara Parish (Wynnefield) as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative.

Both parishes merged at the location and retained the name of Saint Barbara Parish. At that time, the Saint Rose of Lima Church building became a worship site for the newly formed parish.

Additional information regarding that merger can be found at the following link: 

http://archphila.org/press%20releases/pr002178.php

Today’s Announcements

Today, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has approved the relegation of the Holy Trinity Church building, Our Lady of Ransom Church building, and Saint Rose of Lima Church building to profane but not sordid use effective July 25, 2019. This formal, canonical designation means that these buildings will no longer serve as worship sites of their respective parishes and will close as Roman Catholic churches.

This information was shared with Old Saint Mary, Resurrection of Our Lord, and Saint Barbara parishioners at Masses during the course of this weekend. A copy of the official canonical decrees regarding this matter can be found at: http://archphila.org/features/parish-planning-initiatives/.

Further Information Regarding Today’s Announcements

In each instance, the formal request to close a worship site originated from the pastors of the parish, together with his parish pastoral and finance councils. The individual requests were 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. 

Holy Trinity, Philadelphia (South Philadelphia)

Necessary annual and deferred maintenance costs to properly maintain the Holy Trinity Church building currently range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Old Saint Mary Parish has striven to meet this ongoing need, however the costs place a significant financial strain on the parish and are not conducive to its financial solvency.

In 2017, parishioners of Old Saint Mary Parish asked for Masses not to be celebrated in Holy Trinity Church due to the deteriorating flooring. Mass has not been celebrated there since that time. The estimated cost to remove and replace the flooring is approximately $53,000. In addition, the building’s roof is deteriorating and the heating system requires complete replacement. Initial estimated costs for the undertaking of a complete HVAC installation have ranged between $500,000 and $800,000.

An attempt to cover those costs would deplete the savings of Old Saint Mary Parish effectively jeopardizing its financial stability and precluding any necessary or deferred maintenance to the main parish church.

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

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

Our Lady of Ransom Church

The financial cost incurred by Resurrection of Our Lord Parish for maintaining Our Lady of Ransom Church for the 2017-2018 fiscal year was approximately $36,000. In 2018, the Parish reported it had debt balance that totaled approximately $79,000. Its debt had increased to nearly $86,000 as of early 2019.

Since the 2017 merger, the parish has only held one liturgical service, a funeral which took place in the summer of 2017. Our Lady of Ransom Church is located less than one mile from Resurrection of Our Lord Parish. An undue burden for the faithful to come to Resurrection of Our Lord Church to worship does not exist. In addition, having all parishioners worship at Resurrection of Our Lord will continue to enhance parish unity and help parishioners focus on the future of the parish.

When Our Lady of Ransom and Resurrection of Our Lord Parishes merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Our Lady of Ransom Parish were transferred to the newly formed Resurrection of Our Lord Parish. These transfers are standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.

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

Saint Rose of Lima, (Haddington/Carroll Park)

The Saint Rose of Lima Church building is no longer utilized by Saint Barbara Parish, and it is believed that the space would be better utilized for the instruction of students attending the Independence Mission School occupying the rest of the building.

Attempts by Saint Barbara Parish to repair the building would place undue financial burden on the parish, which already has a debt of over $98,000.

The Saint Rose of Lima Church building is the property of Saint Barbara Parish. The future disposition of this building will be determined by the pastor 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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Editor’s Note: For additional information on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit http://archphila.org/features/parish-planning-initiatives/

 


 

Contact:

Contact: Kenneth A. Gavin
Chief Communications Officer
215-587-3747 (office)