As promised (threatened?) a few months back, the Archdiocese officially announced the results of the West Philadelphia parish closings. And the envelope please...
Saint Callistus Parish (Overbrook/Morris Park) and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish (Overbrook/Morris Park) will merge at the location of and keep the name of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. The Saint Callistus church will remain as a worship site.
Our Mother of Sorrows Parish (Mill Creek/Dunlop/West Park) and Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish (Belmont/Mantua/East Park) will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish. The Our Mother of Sorrows church will remain as a worship site.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish (Haddington/Caroll Park) and Saint Cyprian Parish (Cobbs Creek) will merge at the location of and keep the name of Saint Cyprian Parish. The Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament church will remain as a worship site.
Recently, Archbishop Chaput directed that the merger plans for the following parishes receive more input, broader consultation and further study.
West Philadelphia: Saint Barbara (Wynnefield), Saint Donato (Overbrook/Morris Park), and Saint Rose of Lima (Haddington/Carroll Park) Parishes will be studied further beginning later this month. Final decisions are expected by the spring of 2013.
Some surprising stuff on here, actually. Aside from the one expected choice of saving Our Lady of Lourdes, I didn't really see the other ones coming. Ignatius / Our Mother of Sorrows was a tossup, but I still thought the latter would get the nod. Ditto St. Donato, which sources led me to believe was pretty much dead (and may still be).
The closing of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is most shocking, given its status as a Franciscan operation — no small issue in a time where there's a precarious shortage of Archdiocesan priests. One can only conclude that the AD feels they'd be better deployed elsewhere, but nothing comes immediately to mind.
Also, a cautionary word: The announcement notes that all the closed parishes will remain open as worship sites. That's good in a case like OLOBS, which is a terrific building. (And one that, ironically, was extensively repainted a few years back.) But make no mistake — the worship site model is on borrowed time. Not just new worship sites, mind you, but existing ones. Don't expect any of these buildings to stick around long-term.