The St. Peter Claver Center for Evangelization in Center City, which has served black Catholics for nearly 30 years, will close at the end of this month, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced.

The center, housed in the former St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church at 12th and Lombard Streets, a historically black parish, was originally slated to close two years ago amid major archdiocesan cutbacks, including the layoff of a quarter of the staff at headquarters.

But the archdiocese's Office for Black Catholics, part of the Secretariat for Evangelization, appealed the decision, and the center was given a reprieve because grants from outside the archdiocese were supporting its programs.

In the meantime, the St. Peter Claver facilities have become too expensive to maintain without jeopardizing other outreach programs, the archdiocese said. The final mass was held there Oct. 5, with about a dozen in attendance, the archdiocese said.

The former St. Peter Claver Parish existed from 1886 through 1985.

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