The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday the closing of four churches - two in the city, one in Montgomery County, and one in Chester County - effective Jan. 11.
Four had been merged into other parishes. One, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in West Grove, had been replaced by a new and larger building in 2001.
The original Assumption church, which will be closed, has been since referred to as St. Mary's Chapel, and was made available for the occasional celebration of Mass and other events. It was closed for "safety issues" in 2014, the archdiocese said.
In the city's Mount Airy neighborhood, St. Therese of the Child Jesus and St. Madeleine Sophie churches, both of which were merged with Holy Cross parish in July 2013, will be closed.
They, too, had served as occasional worship sites, but the archdiocese said maintenance costs for both churches had been too high for Holy Cross to handle in fiscal 2014-15 while carrying $1.6 million in debt and facing an operating deficit of $39,000.
In addition, both churches being closed have accommodated only a handful of services since the merger, the archdiocese said.
In Bridgeport, St. Augustine's Church, which was merged with Sacred Heart Parish in July 2014, was closed in December 2015 because of mold issues that might jeopardize the health of worshipers.
Sacred Heart, too, has been working on reducing annual deficits that it had begun incurring in the first year of the merger, the archdiocese said, and has succeeding in lowering the deficit from $300,000 in 2015 to just under $200,000 in its second fiscal year as a merged parish.
Sacred Heart doesn't have any revenue sources outside of ordinary income to care for its properties, and the archdiocese was concerned that continued maintenance of St. Augustine would jeopardize its fiscal stability.
The churches to be closed are owned by the merged parishes, and the disposition of the buildings will be determined by the pastors and church councils, the archdiocese said.