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November 17, 2003


Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has accepted the recommendation of the Cluster 77 Pastoral Planning Implementation Committee. This recommendation involves the closing of Holy Trinity Parish, a Slovak personal parish, as of June 30, 2004. Holy Trinity Church will become an alternate worship site for Saint Aloysius Parish. As an alternative worship site for Saint Aloysius Parish, Holy Trinity Church will remain open for Sunday Mass and funerals. Both parishes are in Pottstown, Montgomery County. They have been "twinned," sharing the same pastor, since 1998 when Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua accepted the Cluster 77 Pastoral Plan. The Pastoral Plan called for a periodic review of the twinning arrangement and several reviews have taken place since 2000 including the most recent formal review in early 2003.

In a letter dated October 29, 2003 to the Regional Vicar for Montgomery County, Monsignor John C. Marine, Cardinal Rigali said, "Please convey to the pastors and members of the Cluster 77 Implementation Committee my deep gratitude for all their work in addressing the pastoral needs within the Cluster. I also thank you for facilitating this planning and evaluation process within the Vicariate of Montgomery County."

In making its recommendation to the Archbishop, the Cluster 77 Pastoral Planning Implementation Committee noted the the continuously low number of baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations at Holy Trinity Parish. In 2002, there were four infant baptisms, one adult Confirmation and three first Communions. According to figures provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Research and Planning, the parish is unlikely to have an influx of many young couples of Slovak background with children.

The present parishioners of Holy Trinity Parish who reside within the territorial boundaries of Saint Aloysius Parish may become members of that parish or they may choose to join the nearest Slovak personal parish (Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenixville). For those Holy Trinity parishioners who reside outside of the territorial boundaries of Saint Aloysius Parish it is preferred that they 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 the situation, they will be given the option of registering at Saint Aloysius Parish. This option applies solely to the present members of Holy Trinity Parish who reside outside the boundaries of Saint Aloysius Parish.

There are currently 279 parishes in the five county area of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties). Four of these are Slovak personal parishes (including Holy Trinity Parish).

Editor's Note: For background information, please visit the Cluster 77 web page.

Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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