Rita Ortiz, (center) holds a sign at a demonstration protesting the recently announced closure of the Spanish Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on Spring Garden and 19th Streets. The Archdiocese will be closing the Spanish Chapel due to a lack of funds. Mrs. Ortiz has been attending services at the chapel since 1954. Credit: Charles Mostoller/METRO
Thousands of parishioners all around the city at Sunday morning Mass today learned the fate of their religious institutions. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will close 16 city parishes.
According to the Archdiocese, the decision has been made due to a "shift in Catholic population," as well as a high number of parishes in a small areas and a decline in attendance.
More decisions have been made after Archbishop Charles J. Chaput reviewed the recommendations of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee. The most recent changes affect parishes not only in the city but in Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks counties.
Sixteen will close, another 13 will merge and 17 more will be untouched for the time being, reports say. After the most recent mergers, there will be 219 parishes as part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The former parishes will become worship sites used for weddings, funerals and feast days, the Archdiocese announced. If clergy is available, Sunday Mass could be held there.
The Archdiocese outlined each closing or merging parish and its numbers of baptisms performed, marriage ceremonies performed and weekend Mass attendance from 2008 to 2012.