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March 12, 1999


In a letter dated February 26, 1999, sent to Rev. Msgr. Francis W. Beach, Regional Vicar for Philadelphia-North, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, accepted the Cluster Pastoral Plan for Cluster 18, and commended the pastors and all who served on the Cluster Pastoral Planning Committee.

The nine parishes of Cluster 18 are:

St. Athanasius Parish
St. Benedict Parish
St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Holy Cross Parish
Immaculate Conception Parish
St. Madeleine Sophie Parish
St. Raymond of Penafort
St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish
St. Vincent De Paul Parish

Cluster 18's plan centers on these objectives:

1) Maintain the presence of the Church in nine current parishes. Projections call for the number of diocesan priests in Cluster 18 to be reduced from seven to five in the year 2000.The goal of maintaining the presence of the Church in Cluster 18 will be accomplished by "twinning" St. Madeleine Sophie and Holy Cross in the year 2000. This means one pastor will oversee both parishes. This will also be accomplished by staffing St. Francis of Assisi parish with The Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Community).

2) Develop cluster-wide processes and practices to insure the viability of quality Catholic schools. This will be accomplished by establishing a Development Office and creating a marketing and public relations strategy.

3) Continue to witness the Cluster's commitment to the poor. This will be accomplished by studying the needs of the community, supporting existing programs and developing new programs where needed. Cluster 18 will also develop alliances with other organizations and become more involved in housing issues.

4) To examine and expand efforts that enhance the cluster's role in the broader community. This will be accomplished by developing a public relations strategy and by marketing the mission of the Catholic Church in Cluster 18.

5) Oversee the implementation of the Cluster Pastoral Plan upon acceptance by Cardinal Bevilacqua. This will be accomplished by establishing an Implementation Committee. The Implementation Committee will plan a Eucharistic Celebration for all members of the Parish Pastoral Councils and others.


Editor's Note: Media inquiries should be directed to Rev. Msgr. Francis W. Beach
at 215-508-4250.

John Miller
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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