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NEWS
May 7, 2015 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
IN THE DAVID vs. Goliath battle pitting former members of St. Laurentius parish against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I don't understand why the Archdiocese wants so badly to demolish the church. I get that the Gothic-spired, stained-glass, brownstone Fishtown church with a three-nave sanctuary designed by Edwin Forrest Durang has structural problems. In October 2013, Licenses and Inspections deemed the 130-year-old building "unsafe," prompting the Archdiocese to close it and erect safety nets to catch any loose debris.
NEWS
May 5, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia needs more time to consider the fates of five churches in the Lower Northeast, part of a long-term study of how to stabilize and sustain parishes while demographics shift, finances and congregations dwindle, and buildings leak and crumble. In an announcement read Sunday to congregants at Mother of Divine Grace, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Our Lady Help of Christians, Saint Adalbert Parish, and St. George Parish, all largely in or near Port Richmond, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput acknowledged that the "complex and difficult issues . . . will require further study and discussion before any final decisions are made.
NEWS
May 1, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
For years, the man identified in court documents as John Doe 187 said he harbored thoughts of suicide - crippled by a "dark anger that was suffocating my soul. " The depression eased, he said, after he approached lawyers with allegations that a Philadelphia priest had abused him when he was a child, and he said he was prepared to testify against the priest at trial. That never happened. The man's lawsuit, filed in 2011 against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was settled last month - less than two months after the church settled a suit filed by another man who alleged that he, too, had been sexually abused as a boy by a priest.
NEWS
May 1, 2015 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
IN WHAT THEIR attorney called a "significant step" in the healing process of two survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has settled the first civil suits filed in 2011 after a damning grand-jury report on sex abuse by area priests. The settlements with survivors - identified in court documents as John Doe 10 and John Doe 187 - were made earlier this year, the second coming in February the day before jury selection was to begin for the trials in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, said attorney Dan Monahan, who represented both men. Monahan and attorney Jeff Anderson announced the settlements yesterday.
NEWS
April 13, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker and Erin Arvedlund, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Rev. Thomas M. Higgins, pastor at Holy Innocents Roman Catholic Church in Juniata Park, is not just the spiritual leader of a vast area of Lower Northeast Philadelphia. He's also a busy property manager. To date, Holy Innocents, the sole survivor of a five-way merger, is the most extreme case of parish consolidation in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It left Higgins in charge of 22 buildings clustered in Frankford, Juniata Park, and Kensington - churches, schools, rectories, and convents that had to be sold or rented to cover their costs.
NEWS
March 24, 2015 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
JOHN WISNIEWSKI, 60, says he has been with St. Laurentius Church in Fishtown all his life. His parents and grandparents were married there, and he was baptized there. A.J. Thompson, 38, left another church two years ago to join St. Laurentius, a church he found "welcoming," he said. Now, both men are furious with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which announced yesterday that it would proceed to demolish the 133-year-old building at Berks and Memphis streets, the oldest Polish church in the city.
NEWS
March 13, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and local organizers of the World Meeting of Families announced Monday the creation of 15 committees to coordinate the international gathering in September, which will feature a visit to Philadelphia by Pope Francis. The committees will develop programming and coordinate efforts on such topics as music, "visitor experience," liturgies, youth events, parish preparation, and papal events. Sponsored by the Vatican and hosted by the archdiocese, the six-day gathering will feature a four-day congress of lectures and workshops at the Convention Center.
NEWS
March 5, 2015 | By Chris Palmer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Bucks County priest removed from ministry last month was placed on leave because it was discovered that a trove of pornographic images he had downloaded in 2005 may have included up to a dozen photos of minors, the archdiocese said in a statement Tuesday. The Rev. Louis J. Kolenkiewicz, 47, most recently of St. Bede the Venerable Parish in Holland, had been disciplined in 2005 and 2011 for downloading pornography, Archdiocese of Philadelphia spokesman Ken Gavin said. But recently, Gavin said, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office - which had investigated the previous cases but declined to press charges - told the archdiocese that among the 12,000 images Kolenkiewicz downloaded in 2005, up to 12 may have depicted juveniles.
NEWS
March 3, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Vatican is asking Catholics around the world how the church can better serve their families, but local response to Rome's questionnaire has been lackluster, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reports. The Diocese of Camden, meanwhile, has rewritten the survey's dense language - what it calls "Vaticanese" - inspiring lively conversations in its parishes. The emphasis on families comes as the region prepares for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, which will be capped by a visit from Pope Francis.
NEWS
February 17, 2015 | By Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has placed a Bucks County priest on administrative leave while it reviews allegations against him. The archdiocese said Sunday it had placed the Rev. Louis J. Kolenkiewicz, 47, on leave, "in an abundance of caution. " Archbishop Charles J. Chaput took the action in response to new information stemming from allegations that were investigated twice before, in 2005 and 2011. The archdiocese did not disclose details of the allegations but said Kolenkiewicz was alleged to have violated ministry standards regarding the boundaries of appropriate behavior for interacting with children and young people.
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