Bookmark and Share

February 21, 2005


Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has approved the recommendation of the Steering Committee of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Victory Parishes in West Philadelphia to establish a new parish through consolidation. In approving the recommendation to consolidate parishes, a review by the Council of Priests is required before final approval is considered. The schools of the two parishes will also become one new school.

The new parish will be located at 63rd and Callowhill Streets, using the buildings of the present Our Lady of the Rosary site. Parishioners will have an opportunity to offer suggestions for the name of the new parish. Cardinal Rigali will select the name and the new parish will open on July 1, 2005. It is the hope of the Archdiocese that the new parish will continue to make its presence felt in the neighborhood through the establishment of a Parish Outreach Center at the site of the Our Lady of Victory Parish convent.

Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Victory Parishes face decreasing numbers of parishioners because of demographic changes in the area. The number of parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish decreased from 1,045 in 1990 to 400 in 2004. During that same time period, the number of parishioners of Our Lady of Victory decreased from 1,347 to 537. The two schools have also faced steadily declining enrollment. As the number of students decreases, the cost per pupil increases. In the 2004-2005 school year, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish School enrollment is 162 students and Our Lady of Victory Parish School is 190.

Cardinal Rigali said, "In this season of Lent we look upon this occasion of the consolidation of parishes with hopeful expectation. There is a feeling of loss, for the parishioners and for me as their archbishop, but we know that from the consolidation will come a new creation, a new parish that will be a font of sacramental grace.

At the same time, it is imperative that the Catholic Church retain a presence in the area of Our Lady of Victory Parish, while the new parish operates at the site of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. In this way the Church can continue to minister to all peoples, as a wise steward of limited resources. I pray that the new parish will be an effective witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in West Philadelphia and a new spiritual home for its Catholic residents."


In fall 2003 an ad hoc committee began meetings to gather preliminary information. In spring 2004, a Steering Committee was formed. The Steering Committee solicited the input of parishioners through a November 2004 communique. In addition, "town meetings" were held for parishioners, for other school families and for the schools' faculties. On December 9, 2004, the Steering Committee signed the final proposal. On January 9, 2005, a communique was distributed to parishioners informing them of the final recommendation.


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

Back to Top