Coming Closings: West Philadelphia

A foreboding note from Project reader Tom Dewees:

Not sure if anyone reported this information to you but this message appeared in the parish bulletin for Our Mother of Sorrows/St Ignatius (among other parishes in that area).

PASTORAL PLANNING UPDATE
The Strategic Planning Committee met to present to
Archbishop Chaput their recommendations concerning
the Pastoral Plan for our planning area which is Area
600. The decisions concerning the parishes will be
made after Christmas. After the announcement, a
pastor for each of these “new parishes” will be named.
The new pastor and old pastor(s) will consult along
with the Archdiocese to determine what staff will be
needed for the new parishes. What positions and then
the new pastor will hire for these positions. This
means that each employee of the parish (not the
school), will resign and then have to interview for
these positions. The new parishes will begin on
February 1st.

Once again, the proposal for 4 parishes
is:

Parish 1: Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Callistus and
St. Donato;

Parish 2: St. Rose and St. Barbara;

Parish 3: St. Cyprian and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament;

Parish 4: Our Mother of Sorrows and St. Ignatius.

It is important for you to remain informed, as well as to
have your input. Please contact members of the
Pastoral and Finance Councils, your parish
representatives or Fr. Jeff.

Merry Christmas to you too, Archdiocese.

Not exactly shocking, although that looks to be a pretty severe house-cleaning. No information on whether the affected parishes would remain as worship sites or closed outright, but at least it's a glimpse into what they're thinking.

A few mental notes: 

  1. Interesting to see no mention of St. Agatha-St. James, which is still West Philadelphia. Of course, 38th & Chestnut is a long way from 52nd & Lancaster, and St. AJ's is all the better for it. Little need to worry there, methinks.
  2. Our Lady of Lourdes is likely to survive. The self-proclaimed "Gateway Parish of West Philadelphia" is in good shape and has a small, pristine structure that's easier to care for. Their traditionalist offerings are an asset as well. 
  3. You have no idea how hard I'm pulling for Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament over St. Cyprian. While Cyprian is the last living link to Transfiguration, I've never thought much of that place, at least in its current incarnation. OLOBS is small but simply gorgeous, and offers one of the best worship experiences I've ever had.  

We'll see. What's even more depressing is that this is just one neighborhood. This scenario is going to play out in every other neighborhood. North, Northeast, Northwest, South, Center.

The game is afoot.