Decision time for Delco parishes

Saturday is the day parishioners at a handful of Delco Catholic parishes have been dreading for months.

It is expected first word will be delivered at the Saturday evening Masses as to the fate of their beloved parishes. The news is not expected to be good.

The Archdiocese has been undergoing a second wave of reviews leading up to the announcement of more closures and mergers. A spokesman on Thursday confirmed that announcements would be made at all Saturday evening Masses as well as on Sunday. Parishioners also will receive a letter in the mail with information on the changes.

The formal announcement from the archdiocese is not likely to come until Sunday afternoon.

Delaware County parishes currently under study in “Parish Planning Area 310” as part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Parish Planning Initiative are Holy Spirit in Sharon Hill; Sacred Heart in Clifton Heights; St. Eugene in the Primos section of Upper Darby; and St. Joseph in Collingdale. Those being studied in "Parish Planning Area 300" include St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Tinicum; St. Gabriel in Norwood; St. Madeline in Ridley Park; St. George in Glenolden; St. Rose of Lima in Eddystone; and Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Peace, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Notre Dame de Lourdes, all in Ridley Township.

Some parishioners already have learned through their local priests and parish bulletins that it is likely their beloved churches will be closed.

It has been recommended that St. Margaret Mary, the smallest parish, be merged with St. Gabriel parish in Norwood while St. Rose of Lima in Eddystone was recommended to merge with St. Madeline in Ridley Park and Our Lady of Peace in Ridley Township was recommended to merge with Notre Dame de Lourdes parish, also in Ridley Township.

Thirty out of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s 266 parishes in its five-county region have closed in the two years since the parish sustainability self-studies began as a result of a 2010 proposal by former Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali.

CLICK HERE for the full background on the looming changes.

Closing a local parish is never an easy thing to do, and inevitably results in bruised, sometimes irrevocably broken feelings.

We'll be at the local parishes both Saturday and Sunday to get the full reaction to the news.