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January 10, 2000

St. Michael and Our Lady of Loreto Parish Elementary Schools To Close in June 2000

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, expresses his sadness at the closure of two parish elementary schools. St. Michael Parish Elementary School, located at 1429 N. 2nd Street in North Philadelphia, will close in June of 2000. Our Lady of Loreto Parish Elementary School, located at 2412 S. 62nd Street in Southwest Philadelphia, also will close in June of 2000 as a result of a Plan recommended by a special Tri-Parish Planning Committee, representing Our Lady of Loreto, St. Mary of Czestochowa and St. Barnabas Parishes, and accepted by Cardinal Bevilacqua in December, 1999.

"I am keenly aware that changing demographics within our city and in our suburbs are challenging us to collaborate in new and different ways and to restructure some of our parish communities," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "While I am deeply saddened and reluctant to close any parish or Catholic school, I accepted the recommendations presented to me because I believe that those who carefully studied each parish and school situation had in mind the best interests of students, their parents, parishioners and the greater church community. We must continue to look at the best way to utilize our resources and strengthen our school and faith communities. I thank the pastor and parishioners of St. Michael Parish as well as the priests and lay members of the Tri-Parish Planning Committee of Cluster 33 who spent many hours analyzing factual and financial data in order to prayerfully discern the best long term course of action. They had to make very difficult decisions."

The Pastor of St. Michael Parish, Father John Harkins, announced the closure to the parish community at Sunday masses yesterday and to the school community today.

The Pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish, Father Vito Carbone, and the Pastor of twinned parishes, St. Mary of Czestochowa and St. Barnabas, Monsignor Bernard Herron, announced parish re-structuring at Sunday masses yesterday. Father Carbone informed his school community today.

As part of the Tri-Parish Plan, Our Lady of Loreto and St. Mary of Czestochowa will no longer stand as parishes as of July 1, 2000. There will be one parish, St. Barnabas, with additional worship sites at Our Lady of Loreto and St. Mary of Czestochowa. A "worship site" is an additional sacred building (church) of the parish used for Sunday mass and where funeral masses could also be permitted.

Neighboring Catholic schools, including St. Boniface, St. Peter, Holy Name and St. Laurentius, will accept students from St. Michael. Current students (145) enrolled in Our Lady of Loreto will have the opportunity to attend St. Barnabas Catholic School.

No decisions have been made regarding the future of the school buildings of St. Michael and Our Lady of Loreto.


Editor's Note: Look under Cluster 33 for the news release regarding specifics on the Our Lady of Loreto school closure and under Cluster 22 for the school closure news release from St. Michael.

Catherine Rossi
Director of Communications

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