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April 17, 2000

CARDINAL BEVILACQUA ACCEPTS CLUSTER PASTORAL PLAN FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY CLUSTER


In a letter dated April 3, 2000, sent to Reverend Monsignor John C. Marine, Regional Vicar for Montgomery County, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, accepted the Cluster Pastoral Plan for Cluster 71, and commended the pastors and all who served on the Cluster Pastoral Planning Committee.

The ten parishes of Cluster 71 are:

Mother of Divine Providence
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Mother of Sorrows
St. Augustine
St. Mary
St. Philip Neri
Sacred Heart
St. Matthew
St. Gertrude
Saints Cosmas and Damian

Cluster 71's plan centers on these objectives:

1) Plan for a smooth transition to a cluster with fewer priests. The number of priests in the Cluster will be reduced from 12 to eight in 2001. This objective will be accomplished as follows:
Our Mother of Sorrows Parish will be restructured and its parish church will be an alternate worship site of St. Augustine Parish.
-- Our Mother of Sorrows Church building will remain open for Masses and funerals.
-- The arrangement will be served by one priest.
St. Mary Parish will be twinned with St. Gertrude Parish. (Twinning means that two parishes share one pastor. Each parish remains separate and distinct.)
Mother of Divine Providence Parish will be served by one priest (a reduction of one priest).
St. Philip Neri Parish will be served by one priest (a reduction of one priest).
Sacred Heart Parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, St. Matthew Parish and Saints Cosmas and Damian Parish are all currently served by one priest at each parish. This arrangement will continue.
Special considerations are:
The parishioners of Our Mother of Sorrows will have some choice as to which parish they join. Those members who reside within the territorial boundaries of St. Augustine Parish become members of that parish OR they may choose to join the nearest Slovak personal (ethnic) parish. It is preferred that those members who reside outside the territorial boundaries of St. Augustine Parish become members of the territorial parish in whose boundaries they reside OR they may choose to join the nearest Slovak personal parish. However, because of the uniqueness of this situation, they will be given the option of registering at St. Augustine Parish (this only applies to present members).
The parishes in the cluster will provide assistance to the pastors of Mother of Divine Providence and St. Philip Neri Parishes.
The pastor of the twinned St. Mary and St. Gertrude Parishes must be fluent in Polish.

2) Promote development of lay leadership and stewardship. This will be accomplished by the establishment of a committee which will survey parishes for leadership, ministry and stewardship development needs then plan cluster-wide programs to satisfy common needs. This will also be accomplished with the establishment of a Young Catholic Leaders Association for parishioners in their 20's and 30's.

3) Enrich the faith experience of youth. For this objective, the cluster will be divided into two geographic areas: King of Prussia/Bridgeport/Swedesburg and Lafayette Hill/Conshohocken/West Conshohocken. For each of three youth groups (Post-Confirmation, High School, Young Adults), a committee will plan a calendar of cluster-wide events for their group and determine possible needs for youth ministers.

4) Recognize the uniqueness of geography, history and ethnicity. For this objective the cluster will be divided into two geographic areas: King of Prussia/Bridgeport/Swedesburg and Lafayette Hill/Conshohocken/West Conshohocken. Pastors will meet quarterly to discuss liturgical, social and ethnic cooperation and participation.

5) Develop and maintain a web site for cluster and parish communications. This will be accomplished within three months after the acceptance of the Cluster Plan through the work of four representatives who will plan and design the content of the Web site, then coordinate the effort to develop and maintain the site.

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Editor's Note: Media inquiries should be directed to Reverend Monsignor John C. Marine, Vicar for Montgomery County at 610-896-0567.




Contact
Donna Crilley
Communications Specialist
215-587-3747

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