Petitioning Pope Francis: 'Please stop the indiscriminate sale of churches in Philadelphia'
Parishioners from La Milagrosa, the first Latino church in the city, in conjunction with members from St. Joachim in Frankford, St. Laurentius in Fishtown, and St. Peter Claver in South Philly, all congregations affected by the closure of numerous parishes throughout the region, started a petition to stop what they consider “the indiscriminate sale of churches in Philadelphia.”
The historical Latino chapel —La capilla católica hispana de Nuestra Señora de la Medalla Milagrosa — closed its doors in June of 2013 after providing religious, civic and social services for the Hispanic community for 100 years. St. Joachim and St. Laurentius closures followed that same year. Considered the city’s oldest African- American Catholic church, St. Peter Claver church officially closed its doors on October of the following year.
In 2014, the Archidioceses of Philadelphia announced the merger of 46 parishes located in Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery Counties, citing a number of factors including a shift in Catholic population, a high density of parishes in a small area, as well as declines in Mass attendance.
“In September of 2015, the Catholic families that are currently ‘without a house’ because their home parish has been closed, are hoping that Pope Francis will hear our voices,” states the petition. “In almost all the closures of churches, parishioners have been forced to play a non-existing role and when the parishioners are outspoken they are viewed as a threat and are never invited to even express their legitimate concerns.”
To sign the petition #AyudanosFranciscoSaveOurChurches (#FrancisHelpUsSaveOurChurches) visit change.org.
The group will hold a "Walk For Justice" Sept. 20 inviting supporters to join in solidarity. For more information you can visit the Facebook page Salvemos La Milagrosa