12 Phila. parishes merged to 5
PHILADELPHIA - April 16, 2012 (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Archdiocese continues the painful process of consolidating and contracting the church and this is only the first round.12 parishes have been merged into a total of 5.
They built the new St. Lucy's Church in 1968.
The building's a landmark in the steep hills of Manayunk, but this parish is being shut down soon to be merged with Holy Family, a few blocks away.
The united congregation will keep the name Holy Family.
Many St. Lucy parishioners are not happy.
"I don't agree with it. I do understand why they are doing it. A lot of people have moved out of the area," Tiffani Rusin said.
There will be other mergers in Manayunk, as well.
The reasons are many.
One monsignor has been quoted as saying the 5 churches in Manayunk are within earshot of one another's bells.
Donna Farrell, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Director of Communications, told Action News of some of the reasons for the merger.
"The parish attendance, the number of families that are registered, the need for the sacrament, some of the parishes only had one baptism in the past year, mass attendance. Also a review of the facilities, in some of the areas, the parishes are very close together," Farrell said.
In Germantown, parishes including St. Francis of Assisi and Immaculate Conception and St. Vincent de Paul will merge. St. Vincent de Paul parish will survive.
There will be mergers in Coatesville, as well.
Change, the church fathers say, is never easy.
"The idea, ultimately, is to create vibrant parishes that can be sustained well into the future," Farrell said.
The affected parishes still have 10 days to appeal to the archbishop and ultimately to the Vatican, but to many, the dye appears to be cast and they are sad.
"It's for sentimental reasons; a lot of people have a lot of attachments, a lot of family memories [at St. Lucy's]," Rusin said.
More mergers appear to be in the offing.
In Phoenixville, for example, a final decision of more mergers is expected within the next few months.
In Germantown and Mt. Airy, a decision is expected by this time next year.
philadelphia, manayunk, germantown, philadelphia archdiocese, local/state, vernon odom
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