Archdiocese to Close Two City, Two Suburban Churches
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will close four local churches, including two in the city, the institution announced yesterday.
The closures, effective January 11th, affect the Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Church and the Saint Madeleine Sophie Church in Philadelphia as well as the original Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Chester County and the Saint Augustine Church in Montgomery County.
All four churches had previously been merged into other parishes and were only being used occasionally for Mass, funerals, weddings and other liturgical celebrations. The Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Church and the Saint Madeleine Sophie Church, both in Mt. Airy, merged with the Holy Cross Parish in July of 2013.
The original Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in West Grove had been replaced by a new parish church since 2001, and the the Saint Augustine Parish in Bridgeport merged with the Sacred Heart Parish in July of 2014.
The mergers in Philadelphia and Montgomery County were part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative, an ongoing effort to revaluate worship sites to determine how to effectively funnel church resources amidst “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,” according to a press release from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Each closure was largely due to costly maintenance upkeep. Pastors of each of the parishes requested the closures, which were reviewed by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. The information was shared with the churches this past weekend.
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