Two weeks after announcing the painful consolidation of 24 parishes into 10, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had something to celebrate Saturday in Chester County.
St. Joseph parish in Downingtown, the second-largest in the archdiocese, with 4,400 families and more than 14,500 parishioners, opened a new $9.6 million church with a rite of solemn dedication by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
The new church on Manor Avenue, with seating for 1,200, incorporated stained-glass windows from closed Philadelphia churches. It replaces one built in 1971 that could seat 850.
"It's great to see the people who really paid for, worked for, prayed for this new church building, to get to see their reaction when they move into the church for the first time and see the beauty of it," Msgr. Joseph C. McLoone said Saturday. About 1,200 parishioners, priests, community officials, and others were expected to attend.