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April 19, 2004


Parish News

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces that Divine Mercy Parish will be the name of the new parish in Southwest Philadelphia. The parish is formed from the merger of Saint Clement Parish, Good Shepherd Parish and Saint Irenaeus Parish. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has appointed Reverend Michael J. Davis as the new pastor of Divine Mercy Parish. The site for the new parish will be the former Good Shepherd Parish (67th Street and Chester Avenue). Its founding will be July 1, 2004.

A mailing (which includes a registration form for the new parish) is being prepared for all current members of St. Clement, Good Shepherd and St. Irenaeus parishes. Other details already being addressed are proposals for the Mass schedule and the Opening Mass and Installation of the Pastor on Saturday, July 3rd, 2004.

School News

A new school, to be called Mary Mother of Peace, an area Catholic elementary school, will serve the children of St. Barnabas, Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as the children in the new Divine Mercy Parish. Because of declining student enrollment, the Cluster 33 Advisory Council recommended and Cardinal Rigali approved, the establishment of an area Catholic elementary school in Southwest Philadelphia. During the years 1998 through 2002, enrollment in the parish schools declined by almost 900 students.

Registration for Mary Mother of Peace Area Catholic School is well underway. Currently, 410 students are enrolled for September 2004. The school colors are royal blue and gold. Royal blue is one of the SS. Clement-Irenaeus School colors; gold is one of the St. Barnabas School colors. Tuition for currently registered parishioners of St. Barnabas, St. Clement, Good Shepherd, St. Irenaeus and Most Blessed Sacrament parishes is $1900 for one child; $2600 for two children; $3300 for three or more children. For other students, it is $2500 per child.


In January 2004, Cardinal Rigali approved the recommendation of the Cluster 33 Advisory Council to consolidate Saint Clement Parish (2220 S. 71st Street), Good Shepherd Parish (67th Street and Chester Avenue) and Saint Irenaeus Parish (2728 S. 73rd Street) to form one new parish. A Transition Committee, which included members from the three parishes, was formed to address the details in establishing the new parish. The Cluster 33 Advisory Council based its recommendations on the significant decrease in the number of registered parishioners in the southern end of Cluster 33 and the planned reduction of at least one parish priest in the Cluster by June 2004. There was a decrease of more than 8000 registered parishioners in Cluster 33 between 1998 and 2002. Projections for the foreseeable future indicate further decline in the Catholic population. There were 32% fewer infant Baptisms in Cluster 33 in 2002 than in 1998. Cardinal Rigali also approved the Advisory Council's recommendation to close Saints Clement-Irenaeus Schools in southwest Philadelphia and make Saint Barnabas Parish Elementary School an area Catholic school with a new name.


Marie Kelly
Associate Director

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