Some Philly churches celebrate ethnic Masses to stave off closure

Listen
Our Lady of Port Richmond's Polish Mass and the former St. Joan of Arc's Spanish Mass are helping keep those facilities open

Our Lady of Port Richmond's Polish Mass and the former St. Joan of Arc's Spanish Mass are helping keep those facilities open

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced another round of closings, but ethnic groups are keeping some worship sites and churches open.

For a few years, the archdiocese has closed churches in two steps.  First, officials consolidated multiple parishes into one church building, while leaving the others open as “worship sites.”

But now many worship sites are not drawing enough Catholics for Mass, said archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin. “Experience is showing them that it’s not being used, and if they could better utilize the funds to sustain the main parish, then they are putting in the request to relegate,” he said Monday.

Relegate means to shut down and possibly sell the properties.  Our Lady of Port Richmond’s Polish Mass and the former St. Joan of Arc’s Spanish Mass are helping keep those facilities open, Gavin said.

“We were dealing with parishes that were founded many decades ago to minister to immigrant populations, and those demographics changed over time,” he said. “You had many parishes that were very close to one another.”

Three other worship sites will close in the latest consolidation wave. St. John of the Cross Church in Roslyn, Mater Dolorosa Church in Philadelphia and St. Cecilia Church in Coatesville will no longer serve as a worship sites of Queen of Peace Parish in Ardsley, Holy Innocents Parish in Philadelphia and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Coatesville.

 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.