Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has decided to close three worship locations in the region, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday.
Worshipers learned during weekend services that the St. John of the Cross Church building in Roslyn (Queen of Peace Parish), the Mater Dolorosa Church building in Frankford (Holy Innocents Parish), and the St. Cecilia Church building in Coatesville (Our Lady of the Rosary Parish) will no longer serve as Roman Catholic churches as of Sept. 16.
The archdiocese explained that no one lost a parish church as a result of Sunday's announced closings because the three churches' congregations already had merged into other parish churches.
St. John of the Cross merged with Queen of Peace Parish church in Ardsley in July 2014; Mater Dolorosa merged with Holy Innocents Parish in July 2013; and St. Cecilia merged with Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in July 2012.
According to the archdiocese, Queen of Peace Parish in Montgomery County would be able to meet the $200,000 annual expense of maintaining St. John of the Cross but could not do so while also servicing its parish debt of $1.5 million, half of which it took on when the two parishes merged.
In addition, the archdiocese reported, "there have been very few requests to use St. John of the Cross Church for public worship."
At Mater Dolorosa Church in Frankford, Holy Innocents Parish has $2.5 million in savings but is carrying $500,000 in debt and is drawing upon savings to pay operating expenses because parish income is insufficient.
Closing Mater Dolorosa, where public worship requests are few, saves the parish $45,200 in annual maintenance and $55,000 in necessary deferred maintenance, the archdiocese said.
In Chester County, the archdiocese reports that Our Lady of the Rosary Parish has $150,000 in savings but an annual operating deficit of approximately $18,000, so the $46,400 in annual maintenance costs and $49,000 to $84,000 in deferred maintenance for St. Cecilia Church is a financial hardship.
According to the archdiocese, "the only recent request to use the church was for the funeral liturgy of a former pastor."