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Philadelphia Archdiocese Announces Parish Mergers In Four County Areas
PENNSYLVANIA – Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. CAP. of the Philadelphia Archdiocese has announced and reviewed recommendations of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee to merge parishes in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks Counties.
In each instance of a merger, parishioners will attend daily Mass and Sunday Masses at the church of the newly formed parish. The churches of the former parish will become a worship site and will be utilized for weddings, funerals and feast days as well as for additional and ethnic devotions. Sunday Mass at worship sites may be celebrated at the discretion of the pastor and the pastoral council depending upon the availability of clergy.
Sacred Heart Polish R.C. Church of Clifton Heights, Delaware County will remain a free standing parish.
Sacred Heart Church, a Polish parish, in Swedesburg, Montgomery County, will become a territorial parish with St. Augustine and Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Bridgeport.
St. Mary’s Polish R.C. Church will become a worship site and will be merged with St. Matthews Parish of Conshohocken together with SS. Cosmas and Damian Parish of Conshohocken and St. Gertrude Parish of West Conshohocken, all in Montgomery County.
It is expected that additional parishes will be engaged in the parish area Pastoral Planning initiative beginning in the Fall of 2014 with decisions expected in the Spring of 2015. Announcements will be made this September in those parishes that will take part in that round of study as well as to the general public.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is comprised of 44 Pastoral Planning Areas (PPAs), said Kenneth A. Gavin, Director of Communications.
The mergers are due to a number of factors including a shift in Catholic population, a high density of parishes in a small area, as well as declines in Mass attendance, Sacramental activities, the availability of priests to staff parishes and a review of facilities.
The present mergers will take effect on July 1, 2014. After these mergers, there will be 219 parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
By Ed Dybicz