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January 6, 2013

ARCHDIOCESE ANNOUNCES PARISH MERGERS IN
WEST PHILADELPHIA RESULTING FROM
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 West Philadelphia.

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.

In each instance, 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 256 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 this spring and in the spring of 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 their review before final approval by the Archbishop.

Parish Announcements Effective January 27, 2013:


West Philadelphia:
Saint Callistus Parish (Overbrook/Morris Park) and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish (Overbrook/Morris Park) will merge at the location of and keep the name of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. The Saint Callistus church will remain as a worship site.

Our Mother of Sorrows Parish (Mill Creek/Dunlop/West Park) and Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish (Belmont/Mantua/East Park) will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish. The Our Mother of Sorrows church will remain as a worship site.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish (Haddington/Caroll Park) and Saint Cyprian Parish (Cobbs Creek) will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Cyprian Parish. The Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament church will remain as a worship site.

Recently, Archbishop Chaput directed that the merger plans for the following parishes receive more input, broader consultation and further study.

West Philadelphia: Saint Barbara (Wynnefield), Saint Donato (Overbrook/Morris Park), and Saint Rose of Lima (Haddington/Carroll Park) Parishes will be studied further beginning later this month. Final decisions are expected by the spring of 2013.

Previous Announcements:


Last year, the Archdiocese announced initial rounds of parish mergers resulting from the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative in Coatesville and Phoenixville in Chester County as well as the Germanton, Harrowgate, and Manayunk sections of Philadelphia. Additional information regarding those mergers can be found at http://archphila.org/conversion/conversion_index.php.

Future Announcements:


In September 2012, the following additional parishes began the Parish Area Pastoral Planning process:

Philadelphia: All Saints (Bridesburg), Holy Innocents (Juniata Park/Feltonville), Holy Name of Jesus (Fishtown/Northern Liberties), Mater Dolorosa (Frankford) Our Lady of Consolation (Tacony/Wissanoming), Saint Agnes-Saint John Nepomucene (Fishtown/Northern Liberties), Saint Augustine (Center City East), Saint Bartholomew (Frankford), Saint Bernard (Mayfair), Saint Hugh of Cluny (Fairhill), Saint Joachim (Frankford), Saint Joan of Arc (Richmond), Saint John Cantius (Bridesburg), Saint Laurentius (Fishtown/Northern Liberties), Saint Leo (Tacony/Wissanoming), Saint Michael (Fishtown/Northern Liberties), Old Saint Joseph's (Center City East), Old Saint Mary's (Center City East), Saint Matthew (Mayfair), Saint Peter the Apostle (Fishtown/Northern Liberties), Saint Timothy (Mayfair), and Saint Veronica (Hunting Park). Final decisions regarding parish mergers in these areas are expected by the spring of 2013.

Delaware County: Blessed Virgin Mary (Darby), Holy Savior (Linwood), Immaculate Conception (Marcus Hook), Our Lady of Charity (Brookhaven), Saint Alice (Upper Darby), Saint Cyril of Alexandria (East Lansdowne), Saint Francis de Sales (Lenni), Saint John Fisher (Boothwyn), Saint Joseph (Aston), Saint Katharine Drexel (Chester), Saint Laurence (Upper Darby), Saint Louis (Yeadon), and Saint Philomena (Lansdowne). Final decisions regarding parish mergers in this area are expected by the spring of 2013.

Last April, Archbishop Chaput directed that the merger plans for the following parishes receive more input, broader consultation and further study:

Philadelphia: Holy Cross Parish (East Mount Airy), Saint Benedict Parish (Ogontz/Belfield), Saint Madeleine Sophie Parish (West Mount Airy), and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (West Mount Airy) Parishes will be studied further. That process began in September 2012. Final decisions are expected by the spring of 2013.

Background on Philadelphia Parish Announcements Effective January 27, 2013


**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.**

Saint Callistus and Our Lady of Lourdes Parishes (Philadelphia)
Saint Callistus Parish and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish will merge at the location of and keep the name of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. The two parishes are located just over one mile away from each other. The Saint Callistus church will remain as a worship site for the time being. The pastor of the newly formed parish will be appointed with the regular priest personnel announcements in the coming weeks.
Saint Callistus Parish: 2007 2011
Infant Baptisms 4 2
Marriages 0 0
Weekend Mass attendance 209 128

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish: 2007 2011
Infant Baptisms 18 18
Marriages 9 5
Weekend Mass attendance 675 819


Our Mother of Sorrows and Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parishes (Philadelphia)
Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish. The two parishes are 0.8 miles away from each other. They have been twinned parishes for the past several years sharing the same pastor. The Our Mother of Sorrows Church will remain as a worship site for the time being. The pastor of the newly formed parish will be appointed with the regular priest personnel announcements in the coming weeks.
Our Mother of Sorrows Parish: 2007 2011
Infant Baptisms 1 1
Marriages 1 0
Weekend Mass attendance 116 99

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish: 2007 2011
Infant Baptisms 5 1
Marriages 1 0
Weekend Mass attendance 153 140


Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and Saint Cyprian Parishes (Philadelphia)
Our Mother of the Blessed Sacrament Parish and Saint Cyprian Parish will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Cyprian Parish. The two parishes are one mile away from each other. The Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament church will remain as a worship site for the time being. The pastor of the newly formed parish will be appointed with the regular priest personnel announcements in the coming weeks.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish: 2007 2011
Infant Baptisms 6 8
Marriages 2 2
Weekend Mass attendance 289 296

Saint Cyprian Parish: 2007 2011
Infant Baptisms 13 4
Marriages 4 3
Weekend Mass attendance 415 441


Editor's Note:The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is comprised of 44 Pastoral Planning Areas (PPAs). It is expected that the remainder of the first 22 PPAs will complete the work of planning and implementation over the next 18 months. An 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.

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Contact
Kenneth A. Gavin
Associate Director of Communications
215-587-3747

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