Catholics to mark one-year anniversary of parish closings

Wednesday: Abington's Jolana Domoni at cathedral basilica. "Another chapter of Phila. church history is gone," she said.
Wednesday: Abington's Jolana Domoni at cathedral basilica. "Another chapter of Phila. church history is gone," she said. (APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 28, 2014

Philadelphia-area Catholics will be able to attend weekend Mass for the last time this Saturday and Sunday at 16 churches set to close and merge with nearby parishes.

The weekend also marks the first anniversary since the Archdiocese of Philadelphia merged a different group of parishes.

So a group of Catholics will protest parish mergers by walking and driving Saturday between the parishes that closed last year. They will stop to pray at 18 different churches in Philadelphia and Delaware County, said organizer Pat Smiley.

"It's to commemorate the closings of these churches, and that we remember these churches and the parishioners they serve and those who built these churches," she said.

Smiley's parish, St. Joachim in Northeast Philadelphia, was closed and merged with a nearby parish last year.

Smiley said she does not expect more than a dozen people to attend, but hopes to draw attention to what she called the unfair process of closing churches.

The archdiocese has worked to remain transparent, said spokesman Kenneth A. Gavin.

"If you want to view the process in terms of fairness, input, and collaboration and getting input from the local level, this process is specifically designed to function in a way that provides for that," Gavin said.

The walking and driving pilgrimages will end about 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.


lmccrystal@phillynews.com

610-313-8116

@Lmccrystal

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