June 3, 2012
PASTORAL PLANNING INITIATIVE
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has approved the recommendations of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee to merge parishes in Phoenixville. These mergers are the result of ongoing restructuring that will ultimately strengthen parish communities throughout the Archdiocese positioning them for future growth and sustainability. It is hoped that the result will be revitalized parishes throughout the Archdiocese that are better equipped to meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of future generations.
The recommendations and resulting mergers are an outcome of the Archdiocesan-wide Parish Pastoral Planning Area initiative, which began in 2011. Parishioners at all affected parishes learned of the final decisions through letters mailed to all registered parishioners as well as announcements made at all Masses this weekend.
The mergers announced today were based on a combination of factors, including, but not limited to, demographic shifts in Catholic populations, concentrated density of parishes in a limited geographic area, history of declining Mass attendance and sacramental activity, increasing economic challenges that threaten sustainability, a decrease in the availability of clergy to staff parishes, and a review of facilities.
Parishioners will attend daily and Sunday Mass at the church of the newly formed parish. The churches of the former parishes will remain open and be maintained as worship sites. At the discretion of the pastor, these sites will be utilized for weddings, funerals and feast days, as well as traditional and ethnic devotions for the duration of at least one year during the transition. Sunday Mass may also be celebrated at a worship site at the discretion of the pastor and the newly formed pastoral council.
All parish property, assets and debts of the former parishes will be assumed by the newly created parishes, which will also be responsible for the care of all sacramental records. The pastors from the merging parishes will form a transitional team made up of lay leaders from each of the merging parishes to assist in moving forward with building the new parish community.
The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee, made up of lay persons, priests and Archdiocesan personnel, is examining all 267 parishes within the Archdiocese to gauge their viability and assess whether they possess the resources to accomplish their role in the mission of the Church and remain sustainable and vibrant faith communities. Parishes within each pastoral planning area will continue to carefully and thoughtfully examine their viability in order to make future recommendations. Additional parish announcements are expected in the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013 and 2014.
Parish Area Pastoral Planning is designed to be as collaborative and consultative as possible. Its goal is to provide pastors, after consulting their parish leadership, with the opportunity to dialogue with members of the Strategic Planning Committee in providing joint recommendations to the Archbishop for growth and sustainability within their respective geographic areas. Additionally, in the majority of cases, the regional bishop and the dean meet with the pastors as well as their pastoral and finance councils to hear their concerns and receive their recommendations.
The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee shared all final proposals with the Council of Priests and the College of Consultors for the review before final approval by the Archbishop.
Holy Trinity Parish and Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish.
Sacred Heart Parish and Saint Ann Parish will merge at the location of and keep the name of Ann Parish.
In mid-April, the Archdiocese announced the initial round of parish mergers resulting from the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative in Coatesville, Germantown, and Manayunk. Additional information regarding those mergers can be found at http://archphila.org/press releases/pr001955.htm.
Also in mid-April, Archbishop Chaput directed that the merger plans for the following parishes receive more input, broader consultation and further study:
Germantown/Mount Airy: Holy Cross Parish, Saint Benedict Parish, Saint Madeleine Sophie Parish, and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish will be studied further beginning in September 2012 with a final decision expected by the spring of 2013.
Editor's Note: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is comprised of 44 Pastoral Planning Areas (PPAs). It is expected that the first 22 PPAs will complete the work of planning and implementation over the next two years and that additional two years will be required for the remainder of the PPAs. For more information on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning, please visit www.archphila.org.
**A parish is always more than statistics as they do not represent the whole of parish life. They were only one part of the larger picture when developing recommendations for parish mergers. They do, however, provide a snapshot of a parish's sacramental activity and a gauge to project stability, growth or decline.**
Holy Trinity and Saint Mary of the Assumption Parishes (Phoenixville, Chester County)
Holy Trinity Parish and Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish. The two parishes are located directly across the street from one another. Holy Trinity Church will remain as a worship site. The pastor of the newly formed parish will be appointed with the regular priest personnel announcements in the coming weeks.
|Holy Trinity Parish:||2006||2010|
|Weekend Mass attendance||446||373|
|Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish:||2006||2010|
|Weekend Mass attendance||513||511|
Sacred Heart and Saint Ann Parishes (Phoenixville, Chester County)
Sacred Heart Parish and Saint Ann Parish will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Ann Parish. The two parishes are less than 0.75 miles away from each other. Sacred Heart Church will remain as a worship site. The pastor of the newly formed parish will be appointed with the regular priest personnel announcements in the coming weeks.
|Sacred Heart Parish:||2006||2010|
|Weekend Mass attendance||565||477|
|Saint Ann Parish:||2006||2010|
|Weekend Mass attendance||1,359||1,334|
Holy Cross, Saint Benedict, Saint Madeline Sophie, and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parishes (West Oak Lane/East Mount Airy)
The merger plan for these parishes will be studied further to obtain more input and broader consultation. A final decision is expected by the spring of 2013.
Kenneth A. Gavin
Associate Director of Communications