46 New Parishes Up for Review for Potential Closure, Merger

The Philadelphia Archdiocese has released the names of 46 more parishes that it will review and potentially merge or close. It’s all part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative, a process that the Archdiocese says is “designed to allow groups of parishes known as Pastoral Planning Areas (PPAs) within the same geographic area to undertake a program of self-study.”

The Archdiocese first announced the process back in 2010 and called on all parishes to determine if they had the resources necessary to “accomplish their roles in the mission of Christ while remaining sustainable and vibrant faith communities.”

The first round of the Catholic Church’s review process ended with 30 parishes either merging or closing, bringing the total number of parishes in the Philly Archdiocese down to 236. The announcement of the new list has left some local parishioners with an uneasy feeling.

“I have no faith in it,” said Carol Ann Houmeidan, who attends Holy Spirit Catholic Church, one of the parishes named in the new list. “I do believe it’s gonna be closed. It’s just a matter of time.”

The iconic Saint Monica in South Philadelphia is also on the list. Yet with its standing-room only attendance, parishioners say a smaller parish would likely merge into theirs.

“We’ve seen an influx of people coming into the parish within the last five years, with different parishes closing down,” said Perry Dimatteo, one of the parishioners.

Archdiocese officials say the decision to close or merge a church is based on several factors, including demographic shifts, mass attendance, financial health and proximity to other parishes. The officials also say schools will not be impacted.

“You always have that doubt in the back of your mind,” said Marie Hamilton, who attends Saint Richard, another parish on the list.

Officials say the review process will take several months with the first round of announcements expected in the Spring.

Here is the full list of parishes under review:

Delaware County
Holy Spirit, Sharon Hill
Sacred Heart, Clifton Heights
Saint Eugene, Primos
Saint Joseph, Collingdale
Our Lady of Fatima, Secane   
Our Lady of Peace, Milmont Park   
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Morton   
Saint Gabriel, Norwood   
Saint George, Glenolden   
Saint Madeline, Ridley Park   
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Tinicum   
Saint Rose of Lima, Eddystone   
Notre Dame de Lourdes, Swarthmore   

Montgomery County
Mother of Divine Providence, King of Prussia
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bridgeport
Sacred Heart, Swedesburg
Saints Cosmas and Damian, Conshohocken
Saint Augustine, Bridgeport
Saint Gertrude, West Conshohocken
Saint Mary, Conshohocken
Saint Matthew, Conshohocken
Queen of Peace, Ardsley
Saint David, Willow Grove
Saint John of the Cross, Roslyn
Saint Luke the Evangelist, Glenside

Holy Spirit, South Philadelphia
Saint Charles Borromeo, South Philadelphia     
Saint Edmond, South Philadelphia
Saint Gabriel, South Philadelphia
Saint Monica, South Philadelphia
Saint Richard, South Philadelphia
Saint Rita of Cascia, South Philadelphia
Saint Thomas Aquinas, South Philadelphia

Lower Bucks County
Our Lady of Fatima, Bensalem
Saint Ann, Bristol
Saint Charles Borromeo, Bensalem
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Bensalem
Saint Ephrem, Bensalem
Saint Mark, Bristol
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Croydon
Immaculate Conception BVM, Levittown
Our Lady of Grace, Penndel
Queen of the Universe, Levittown
Saint Frances Cabrini, Fairless Hills
Saint Joseph the Worker, Fallsington
Saint Michael the Archangel, Levittown

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