Bridesburg churches merge, others await fate

The Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia an­nounced a par­ish mer­ger in Brides­burg on Sunday, and more clos­ings and mer­gers are ex­pec­ted to come this week­end.

All Saints will close, with pa­rish­ion­ers at­tend­ing Mass at St. John Can­ti­us, ef­fect­ive Ju­ly 1. The par­ishes are three-tenths of a mile away from one an­oth­er. That will leave 250 par­ishes in the five-county arch­diocese.

On Feb. 3, Arch­bish­op Charles Chaput called for fur­ther in­put and broad­er con­sulta­tion on the fu­tures of Frank­ford’s Ma­ter Dol­orosa and St. Joachim, Har­rowg­ate’s St. Joan of Arc and Ju­ni­ata’s Holy In­no­cents.

Back in 2003, the arch­diocese closed the schools at Ma­ter Dol­orosa, St. Joachim and St. Joan of Arc, and stu­dents were sent to Holy In­no­cents. The schools at All Saints and St. John Can­ti­us have also closed.

If form holds, mean­ing a church clos­ing fol­lows a school clos­ing, the fol­low­ing North­east churches could be in jeop­ardy: Ta­cony’s St. Leo and Our Lady of Con­sol­a­tion, East May­fair’s St. Bern­ard and Wissi­nom­ing’s St. Bartho­lomew.

The churches’ fu­tures are un­cer­tain be­cause of de­clin­ing Mass at­tend­ance, mar­riages and bap­tisms, all factors that hurt a par­ish’s fin­an­cial situ­ation. ••

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