West Philly worship site closed

Posted: August 05, 2014

Citing high upkeep costs, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday that it had closed Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in West Philadelphia on Friday.

In January 2013, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish merged with St. Cyprian Parish. Most services were held in St. Cyprian Church, 525 Cobbs Creek Parkway. Blessed Sacrament, at 63d and Callowhill Streets, was an "alternate worship site" that hosted occasional Masses, funerals, weddings, and baptisms, archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin said.

The parish now has permission to put the Blessed Sacrament building to "profane but not sordid use," the archdiocese said. In this case, profane means that the building can be put to secular use, Gavin said. Sordid means that it cannot be used for something the church would deem "immoral." He declined to give examples.

Gavin said he did not know how many people attended services in St. Cyprian Parish. The parish historically has served African American worshipers. It has conducted outreach in the Nigerian immigrant community in West Philadelphia.

The archdiocese said the parish's pastor and his pastoral and finance councils requested permission to close the church, in part because it costs $35,000 a year to maintain it.

A decree signed by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said the building "does not have any particular architectural, historical, or artistic significance."

Proceeds from a potential sale would go to the parish.

Gavin said religious items would be removed from Blessed Sacrament and stored safely. Later in the year, officials from other parishes will have an opportunity to buy them.





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