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May 1, 2015

ARCHDIOCESE ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF RECENT
PARISH PASTORAL PLANNING IN CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
AS WELL AS DELAWARE AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES




The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has reviewed recommendations of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee and made decisions regarding possible parish mergers in the City of Philadelphia as well as Delaware and Montgomery Counties.

Contextual Background on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Process
In the Fall of 2010, a pastoral letter was issued to parishioners throughout the Archdiocese. It outlined the necessity of an in-depth examination of all parishes in order to gauge whether they possessed the necessary resources to remain vibrant and sustainable faith communities. This process, known as Parish Area Pastoral Planning, is designed to be as collaborative and consultative as possible. Its goal is to provide pastors, after consulting their lay parish leadership and parishioners, with the opportunity to dialogue with members of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee in providing joint recommendations for parish growth and sustainability within their respective geographic areas.

During the process additional steps are taken to be as inclusive as possible. 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 which are brought before the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee, the Council of Priests and the College of Consultors for their observations and recommendations. Input and consultation from all of these groups is provided to the Archbishop.

The decisions being announced today come after careful review of the recommendations submitted by the individual Parish Planning Committees and the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee. They are the result of a process that began in October 2014 for parishes involved in this round of planning. http://archphila.org/press%20releases/pr002452.php


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Today's Announcements

Delaware County


Holy Cross Parish (Springfield), Saint Francis of Assisi Parish (Springfield), and Saint Kevin Parish (Springfield) (PPA 330)

As a part of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Initiative, three parishes in Pastoral Planning Area 330 (Holy Cross Parish, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, and Saint Kevin Parish) were asked last October to enter into discussions to address the financial challenges the parishes face and to consider ways in which the parishes could better collaborate with each other.

A Parish Planning Committee made up of lay representatives from each of the parishes, the pastors, the Dean for the area, and a facilitator met together over several months to draft a recommendation for ongoing viability and sustainability. This recommendation was submitted to the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee which oversees pastoral planning in the Archdiocese.

The recommendation from the parishes noted the complexity of various issues, outlined how the parishes could improve their financial conditions, and noted general areas in which the parishes could collaborate by possibly sharing some resources and staff.

The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee considered the plan from the parishes and made a recommendation to Archbishop Chaput. The Archbishop, after discussing the matter with the Council of Priests, has decided the following:

• The parishes will remain open and independent but will need to continue to look at ways they can address the challenges they face.

• The Parish Planning Committee is asked to submit a more detailed proposal to the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee by July 1, 2015.

• This proposal should elaborate upon the specific steps that the parishes will be taking to address financial concerns. It should also determine specific ways in which the parishes will collaborate and establish a time line for implementation of each element of the plan.

• The Parish Planning Committee will be asked to provide an update on the implementation of the plan in December 2015.

Montgomery County


Holy Martyrs Parish (Oreland), Saint Alphonsus Parish (Maple Glen), Saint Anthony of Padua Parish (Ambler), Saint Catherine of Siena Parish (Horsham), Saint Genevieve Parish (Flourtown), and Saint Joseph Parish (Ambler) Parishes (PPA 420)

As a part of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Initiative, six parishes in Pastoral Planning Area 420 (Holy Martyrs Parish, Saint Alphonsus Parish, Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Saint Genevieve Parish, and Saint Joseph Parish) were asked last October to enter into discussions to formulate a proposal by which these six parishes could possibly be reduced to four.

A Parish Planning Committee made up of lay representatives from each of the parishes, the pastors, a priest coordinator, and a facilitator met together over several months to draft a recommendation. This recommendation was submitted to the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee which oversees pastoral planning in the Archdiocese.

The recommendation from the parishes asserted that all of the parishes in the area are financially and pastorally viable and should remain free standing.

The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee considered the plan from the parishes and made a recommendation to Archbishop Chaput. The Archbishop, after discussing the matter with the Council of Priests, has decided the following:

• No parish mergers are necessary at this time as all of the parishes in the planning area currently appear to be financially and pastorally viable.

• Holy Martyrs Parish together with Saint Genevieve Parish and Saint Joseph Parish together with Saint Anthony of Padua Parish are encouraged to begin to explore ways in which the parishes would be able to cooperate in some areas of ministry.

• The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee is to work on formulating structures that will facilitate a formal collaboration between parishes.


City of Philadelphia


Mother of Divine Grace Parish, Nativity B.V.M. Parish, Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Saint Adalbert Parish, and Saint George Parish (PPA 570)

As a part of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Initiative, five parishes in Pastoral Planning Area 570 (Mother of Divine Grace Parish, Nativity B.V.M. Parish, Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Saint Adalbert Parish, and Saint George Parish) were asked last October to enter into discussions to formulate a proposal by which these five parishes could possibly be reduced to two or three parishes.

A Parish Planning Committee made up of lay representatives from each of the parishes, the pastors, a priest coordinator, and a facilitator met together over several months in an attempt to draft a recommendation. This recommendation was to be submitted to the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee, which oversees pastoral planning in the Archdiocese.

In March of this year the parishes reported to the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee that despite making a good faith effort they were not able to reach a consensus on a recommendation. They noted that the issues the parishes face are complex and do not allow for a simple solution. However, they agreed to accept whatever decision Archbishop Chaput would make for the area.

The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee considered the issues involved and made a recommendation to Archbishop Chaput. The Archbishop, after discussing the matter with the Council of Priests, has decided the following:

• The complex and difficult issues in PPA 570 will require further study and discussion before any final decisions are made. It is noted that the special circumstances in this area include a number of personal parishes, some large parish complexes that are difficult to maintain, a declining number of active Catholics in the area, and serious financial difficulties in several of the parishes.

• The Parish Planning Committee for PPA 570 will be asked to resume deliberations in the Fall of 2015. The primary focus will be on ways the parishes can collaborate in sharing pastoral ministry and resources.

• The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee is to work on formulating structures that will facilitate a formal collaboration between parishes.


Previous Announcements

In 2012, 2013, and 2014, the Archdiocese announced results from previous rounds of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative in the City of Philadelphia as well as the suburban counties.
Additional information regarding those announcements can be found at http://archphila.org/conversion/conversion_index.php.

Future Announcements

It is expected that additional parishes will engage in the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative beginning in the Fall of 2015 with decisions expected in the Spring of 2016. Announcements will be made publicly when the next round of study commences.

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Editor's Note: There are 219 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, comprised of 44 Pastoral Planning Areas (PPAs). For more information on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning, please visit http://archphila.org/conversion/conversion_index.php.

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

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