Monday, June 2, 2014

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: Parishes in Philadelphia, counties to merge in latest wave of Planning


Twenty-nine parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will merge into 13 effective July 1, the archdiocese announced Sunday, June 1 after Archbishop Charles Chaput made decisions on the parishes upon reviewing recommendations of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee.

Another 17 parishes were involved in the pastoral planning process since last September but will remain free-standing parishes at this time.

Members of all the affected parishes learned the news during weekend Masses.Coinciding with the announcement, the archdiocese revealed the list of changes in clergy assignments throughout the archdiocese. They include priests retiring from active ministry, new pastors for many parishes and dozens of other assignment changes. See the full list here.

The mergers stem from the review of a number of factors including geographic shifts in Catholic population, a high density of parishes in a small area, as well as declines in Mass attendance, sacramental activity, the availability of priests to staff parishes and the condition of parish buildings.

In all the mergers, the churches of closing parishes will become worship sites in which weddings, funerals, feast days and ethnic devotions, plus regular Sunday Mass, may be celebrated at the discretion of the pastors and pastoral councils of the new parish.

Several geographic areas that for many years had supported several parishes in a town or a section of Philadelphia had come under scrutiny as they watched parish populations decline while still requiring the same number of pastors, one for each parish. (Below, see links to more Parish Planning Area information including parish demographic and sacramental data.)

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