16 Philly-Area Churches Hold Their Final Mass

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Parishoners at a Delaware County church, Notre Dame de Lourdes, say mass this weekend feels more like a funeral. The church is one of 16 set to close.

    The mood was bittersweet for parishioners at Notre Dame de Lourdes in Swarthmore on Saturday. It was supposed to be a celebration of the church's 55 year history. More often than not however it seemed like a night of mourning.

    "It's not like we're going to mass," said Bob Lynch, one of the parishioners. "It's kind of like we're going to a funeral."

    Notre Dame is one of 16 local churches that will hold their final mass on Sunday before closing for good on Monday.

    Catholic Church Closings Continue

    [PHI] Catholic Church Closings Continue
    Sixteen local parishes are closing this weekend as part of the Philadelphia Archdiocese's restructuring plan.

    Last year, the Archdiocese informed the public that 46 churches in Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery counties would undertake a program of self-study, known as the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative, to determine if any of the parishes should merge together.

    A committee -- made up of lay persons, priests and Archdiocesan personnel -- presented Archbishop Charles Chaput with three possible recommendations for each parish: to merge, to complete additional evaluations in the future or maintain their current structure and develop a plan for long-term sustainability.

    Earlier this month, the Archdiocese announced the 16 parishes that would close.

    "The mergers being announced 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 activity, the availability of priests to staff parishes, and a review of facilities," said Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin in a released statement. "In each instance of a merger, parishioners will attend daily and Sunday Mass at the church of the newly formed parish. The church(es) of the former parish(es) will become a worship site(es). Worship sites will be utilized for weddings, funerals and feast days, as well as traditional and ethnic devotions. Sunday Mass may also be celebrated at worship sites at the discretion of the pastor and the newly formed pastoral council and depending upon the availability of clergy."

    Notre Dame de Lourdes will merge with Our Lady of Peace in Milmont Park.

    "It's sad for every person that I know that's still in my parish who grew up here and who stayed here because of the camaraderie and the family-like atmosphere," said Karen Finelli, while on the verge of tears. "It's very sad."

    Five of the parishes set to merge, including Notre Dame de Lourdes, filed appeals against the decision. The other parishes that appealed are Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Saint Ann.

    The appeals are with Archbishop Chaput who will likely make a decision next month. Some parishioners have said they plan to take the appeal to the Vatican if its declined by Chaput. Since the parish mergers began in 2010, no appeals have ever been overturned.

    Here is the full list of churches and the decisions that were made:

    Notre Dame de Lourdes 99 Fairview Road, Swarthmore Delaware County Closing; Merging with Our Lady of Peace in Milmont Park
    Sacred Heart  316 E. Broadway Ave, Clifton Heights Delaware County Staying Open
    St. Eugene 200 S. Oak Ave., Primos Delaware County Staying Open
    St. Joseph 500 Woodlawn Ave, Collingdale Delaware County Staying Open
    Holy Spirit Catholic Church 1028 School St., Sharon Hill Delaware County Closing; Merging with St. George
    St. George 22 E Cooke Ave, Glenolden Delaware County Staying Open
    Our Lady of Perpetual Help 2130 Franklin Ave, Morton Delaware County Staying Open
    Our Lady of Fatima 1 Fatima Drive, Secane Delaware County Staying Open
    St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church  233 Mohawk Ave., Norwood Delaware County Staying Open
    Our Lady of Peace 501 Belmont Ave., Milmont Park Delaware County Staying Open
    St. Rose of Lima 1901 Chester Pike, Eddystone Delaware County Staying Open
    St. Madeline 105 Park St, Ridley Park Delaware County Staying Open
    St. Margaret Mary Alacoque 500 Wanamaker Ave., Essington Delaware County Closing; Merging with St. Gabriel 
    St. Luke the Evangelist 2316 Fairhill Ave, Glenside Montgomery County Staying Open
    Queen of Peace 820 North Hills Ave., Ardsley Montgomery County Staying Open
    St. John of the Cross 2741 Woodland Road, Roslyn Montgomery County Closing, Merging With Queen of Peace
    St. David 316 Easton Road, Willow Grove  Montgomery County Staying Open
    Mother of Divine Providence 333 Allendale Road, King of Prussia  Montgomery County Staying Open
    Our Lady of Mount Carmel 502 Ford St., Bridgeport Montgomery County Closing, Merging With Sacred Heart
    St. Augustine 464 Ford St., Bridgeport Montgomery County Closing, Merging with Sacred Heart
    Sacred Heart 120 Jefferson St., Swedesburg Montgomery County Staying Open 
    St. Gertrude 209 Merion Ave., West Conshohocken Montgomery County Closing; Merging with Saint Matthew
    St. Mary 140 W. Hector St., Conshohocken Montgomery County Closing; Merging with Saint Matthew
    St. Matthew 219 Fayette St., Conshohocken Montgomery County Staying Open
    SS. Cosmas and Damian 209 W. 5th Ave., Conshohocken Montgomery County Closing; Merging with Saint Matthew
    St. Charles Borromeo 1704 Bristol Pike, Bensalem Bucks County Staying Open

    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
    1200 Park Ave., Bensalem Bucks County Closing; Merging with St. Thomas Aquinas in Croydon
    St. Thomas Aquinas 601 Bristol Pike, Croydon Bucks County Staying Open
    Our Lady of Fatima 2913 Street Road, Bensalem Bucks County Closing, Merging with St. Charles Borromeo
    St. Ann 357 Dorrance St., Bristol Bucks County Closing; Merging with St. Mark
    St. Mark 1025 Radcliffe St., Bristol Bucks County Staying Open
    St. Ephrem 5400 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem Bucks County Staying Open
    Immaculate Conception B.V.M. 5201 Emilie Road, Levittown Bucks County Closing; Merging with Queen of the Universe
    St. Michael the Archangel 66 Levittown Parkway, Levittown Bucks County Staying Open

    Our Lady of Grace
    225 Bellevue Ave., Penndel Bucks County Staying Open
    Queen of the Universe 2443 Trenton Road, Levittown Bucks County Staying Open
    St. Frances Cabrini 325 S Oxford Valley Road,  Fairless Hills Bucks County Staying Open
    St. Joseph the Worker 9172 New Falls Road, Levittown Bucks County Closing; Merging with St. Frances Cabrini
    St Charles Borromeo Parish 902 S. 20th St. Philadelphia Staying Open
    St. Rita of Cascia 1166 S. Broad St. Philadelphia Staying Open
    St. Gabriel 2917 Dickinson St Philadelphia Staying Open
    St. Thomas Aquinas 1719 Morris St. Philadelphia Staying Open
    St Edmond Parish 2130 S. 21st St. Philadelphia Closing, Merging with St. Monica
    St. Monica 2422 S 17th St Philadelphia Staying Open
    St. Richard 3010 S. 18th St Philadelphia Staying Open
    Holy Spirit 1845 Hartranft St. Philadelphia Closing, Merging With St. Richard

    After the mergers become effective, there will be 219 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.