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January 14, 2002


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, expresses his sadness at the closure of two parish elementary schools. Good Shepherd Parish Elementary School, located at 66th Street and Chester Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia will close in June 2002. Most Blessed Sacrament Parish Elementary School, located at 5628 Chester Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia, will also close in June 2002, as a result of recommendations made by the pastors and the Cluster 33 Advisory Council. Cardinal Bevilacqua formally accepted the recommendations in December 2001.

"I am reluctant to close a parish school but must consider all of the factual information," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "I offer my sincere appreciation to all of those who have invested their time to study and consider these schools' particular situations. Good Shepherd and Most Blessed Sacrament Parish Elementary Schools have well served the people of Southwest Philadelphia for many years. Sadly, it has become impossible to keep these parish schools open and viable. I pray that all of those touched by these closings will find new hope based on faith in God."

The Cluster 33 Pastoral Plan (accepted by Cardinal Bevilacqua in March 1998) stated that "the issue of parish elementary schools within the Cluster...will need a deeper, more detailed study." As part of the implementation process, self-studies were initiated at Saint Barnabas, Saints Clement-Irenaeus, Good Shepherd and Most Blessed Sacrament Parish Elementary Schools in January 2001. After careful review of the data and a series of meetings, the pastors and principals agreed to recommend that two of the schools close (Good Shepherd and Most Blessed Sacrament) and to solicit the input of the people.

In June 2001, the pastors and school principals of Good Shepherd and Most Blessed Sacrament consulted with their respective Parish Pastoral Council, Finance Council, school faculty and Home and School Association and announced that feasibility studies would be conducted. In December 2001, it was announced that the feasibility studies supported the recommendations that these two schools close in June 2002.

The Pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, Reverend J. Thomas Heron, and the Pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Reverend Roland D. Slobogin, announced the closure to their parish communities at weekend masses (January 12-13) and to the school communities today. Students at both schools will have the opportunity to attend any of the area Catholic schools including Saint Barnabas, Saint Cyprian, Saints Clement-Irenaeus and Saint Francis de Sales, No decisions have been made regarding the future of the school buildings of Good Shepherd and Most Blessed Sacrament.


Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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