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September 28, 2014

ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA ANNOUNCES CLOSURE OF
TWO WORSHIP SITES IN PHILADELPHIA

Saint Callistus Church and Saint Laurentius Church will no longer serve as worship sites of
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, respectively,
and will close as Roman Catholic Churches


Contextual Background

Saint Callistus

In July 2013, Saint Callistus Parish merged with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, both located in West Philadelphia's Overbrook/Morris Park neighborhoods, as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Both parishes merged at the location and retained the name of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

At that time, the Saint Callistus Church building became a worship site of the newly formed Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and was made available for the occasional celebration of Mass as well as funerals, weddings and baptisms. This practice is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger.

Additional information regarding that merger can be found at the following link: http://archphila.org/press releases/pr002099.php.

Saint Laurentius

In July 2013, Saint Laurentius Parish merged with Holy Name of Jesus Parish, both located in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood, as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Both parishes merged at the location and retained the name of Holy Name of Jesus Parish.

At that time, the Saint Laurentius Church building became a worship site of the newly formed Holy Name of Jesus Parish and was made available for the occasional celebration of Mass as well as funerals, weddings and baptisms. This practice is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger.

Additional information regarding that merger can be found at the following link: http://archphila.org/press releases/pr002178.php


Today's Announcement

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. relegated the Saint Callistus and Saint Laurentius Church buildings to profane but not sordid use effective October 1, 2014. This formal, canonical designation means that the buildings will no longer serve as worship sites and will close as Roman Catholic churches. Copies of the official canonical decrees can be found at http://archphila.org/conversion/conversion_index.php.

The formal request to close these worship sites originated from the pastors of the parishes, together with their parish pastoral and finance councils. The requests were then reviewed by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests and presented to Archbishop Chaput, who, after a careful review of all supporting factors, made the final decision.

This information was shared with Our Lady of Lourdes and Holy Name of Jesus parishioners at all Masses over the course of this weekend. Additionally, the pastors of both parishes have regularly communicated with their parishioners throughout the process of request for the buildings be relegated to profane but not sordid use.

Further Information Regarding Today's Announcement

Saint Callistus

The Saint Callistus church building faces a dangerous mold problem. It also is in need of repairs to the roof as well as waterproofing of the foundation. These necessary repairs and corresponding environmental clean-up work are estimated to cost a minimum of $260,000 over and above routine maintenance and utility costs. This figure represents an expense that Our Lady of Lourdes Parish cannot absorb and that would jeopardize the stability of vital ministerial programs and parish finances. Additionally, there have been no requests for funerals or weddings at Saint Callistus, and no Eucharistic celebrations at the church site for the last ten months.

When Saint Callistus and Our Lady of Lourdes Parishes merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Saint Callistus Parish were transferred to the newly formed Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. These transfers are part of standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.

As such, the former Saint Callistus church building is the property of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. The future disposition of this building will be determined by the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for continued parish viability and sustainability.

Saint Laurentius

In March 2014, an inspection by an independent engineering firm resulted in the discovery of serious structural problems at the site and led to a recommendation for immediate closure out of concern for the safety of parishioners, students and the surrounding community. More information can be found here: http://archphila.org/press releases/pr002344.php The cost to repair and restore the church, including rebuilding the towers, would cost nearly $3.5 million, while the cost to demolish the church is approximately $1 million.

When Saint Laurentius and Holy Name of Jesus Parishes merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Saint Laurentius Parish were transferred to the newly formed Holy Name of Jesus Parish. These transfers are part of standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.

As such, the former Saint Laurentius church building is the property of Holy Name of Jesus Parish. The decision to demolish the Saint Laurentius church building or repair it will be determined by the pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for continued parish viability and sustainability.

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

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