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NEWS
October 26, 2013
HILLTOWN The Philadelphia Archdiocese plans to sell another large piece of land that it owns in Bucks County. It's a 68-acre parcel that was once intended to be a Catholic high school in Hilltown. Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin said it scrapped its plans to build a high school along Route 152 because "it became apparent there was not a need. " The archdiocese is in negotiations to sell the land for $2.6 million to an undisclosed buyer to help lessen an $82 million shortfall. The archdiocese hopes to close on another deal in December to sell 48 acres it owns in Plumstead to a farmer for more than $800,000, Gavin said.
NEWS
October 25, 2013 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
CALLING THE recently deceased man who alleged he had been sexually abused by a former Philadelphia Catholic priest a "champion" for victims of child sexual abuse, District Attorney Seth Williams yesterday said he had no choice but to drop criminal charges against the ex-priest. With the Oct. 13 drug-overdose death of Sean Patrick McIlmail, 26, there "was not enough independent evidence - circumstantial or direct - to continue with the successful prosecution of Father Robert Brennan," Williams said at an afternoon news conference.
NEWS
October 8, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Robert J. Miller, 63, of Elkins Park, who created the Office for Research and Planning in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and ran it for two decades, died Monday, Sept. 30, of cancer at Holy Redeemer Hospice. In 1990, Dr. Miller devised a system for the handling and collection of data about the archdiocese and drew up training documents so others could use it. It was a daunting task. The archdiocese had never had an official planning office, and the catchment area for data collection was huge, including parishes, schools, human service agencies, and other groups serving 1.4 million Catholics in the Philadelphia area.
NEWS
September 28, 2013 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has agreed to lease its 13 cemeteries to a Levittown company for a total payment of $89 million over 35 years, officials announced Thursday. The 60-year deal with StoneMor Partners L.P. includes an initial payment of $53 million, plus $36 million spread over years six through 35 of the lease. Officials from the archdiocese and StoneMor, whose chief executive attended elementary school in the former Corpus Christi parish in Philadelphia, assured Catholics that the cemeteries would retain their character and that current practices and policies would continue.
NEWS
September 27, 2013 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
A FORMER Philadelphia Catholic priest has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an altar boy, the Philadelphia district attorney announced yesterday. The Rev. Robert L. Brennan, 75, was arrested Wednesday night in Maryland and charged with rape and related crimes for allegedly abusing the boy from 1998 to 2001, when he was 11 to 14 years old. Brennan, who was in his early 60s at the time of the alleged assault, was an assistant pastor at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, in the Northeast.
NEWS
September 25, 2013 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a significant break from custom, a new foundation has been formed to manage charitable fund-raising for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a move designed to reengage disaffected Catholics and boost giving. The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia made the announcement Tuesday. It  follows the formula used last year in turning over management of archdiocesan high schools to the Faith in the Future Foundation. It gives lay leaders more say over church functions that have long been kept under tight control by the hierarchy.
NEWS
September 23, 2013 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
THE REGION Bernard Gutkowski has spent much of his 65 years on earth inside the walls of the Sacred Heart Church in the Swedesburg section of Bridgeport. That's where Gutkowski was an altar boy, got married, and later brought his children on Sundays. "This church is my whole life," said Gutkowski, who has served on several church boards and runs a funeral home in the Montgomery County town. Last week, Gutkowski and other parishioners learned their church was one of 46 in the Philadelphia area that are next to undergo a review as the archdiocese assesses its parish structure.
NEWS
September 17, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
  Sister Margaret Eugene Beall, 90, a teacher in Philadelphia at the elementary and high-school levels, died Monday, Sept. 9, of cardiopulmonary failure at Assisi House in Aston. She had been a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 65 years. Sister Margaret worked for 40 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and another 24 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore before retiring to Assisi House in 2011. Both inside the classroom and the Franciscan religious order, she was known for being very organized.
NEWS
September 17, 2013 | By Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Sunday that it will examine 46 parishes in Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery Counties to assess their viability and resources. That continues the archdiocese's Parish Area Pastory Planning Initiative, which began in 2010. The process is designed to let groups of parishes known as "Pastoral Planning Areas" undertake a program of self study, officials said. In the last few years the process has led to the merger or closing of 30 parishes, said archdiocese spokesman Kenneth A. Gavin.
NEWS
August 22, 2013 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
IN YET another cost-cutting move, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is putting seven senior-living facilities up for sale and seeking an outside operator for nearly a dozen cemeteries, officials announced yesterday. The changes could affect up to 1,400 residents and more than 2,000 employees in the senior-living facilities, along with 190 employees at 11 cemeteries. "Our difficult financial situation must be addressed and the actions that we need to take may be painful ones," Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a statement.
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