Parishioners Pray Announced Church Mergers Don't Stick - New York News

Parishioners Pray Announced Church Mergers Don't Stick

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PHILADELPHIA -

On the steps of St. Leo, parishioners said a prayer hoping their beloved church won't be merged into Our Lady of Consolation less than a mile away.

"The decision to close St. Leo doesn't make sense!" shouted Anne Marie Kurik to the members who gathered outside as she rattled off a list of reasons it should stay independent.

Citing cost cutting and declining membership, The Philadelphia Archdiocese plans to merge 27 parishes in Philadelphia and Delaware County. It's part of a restructuring plan that began in 2011.

But St. Leo church board members say with more than a $1 million in assets, closing the Tacony church doesn't make any sense.

There's a lot of history at the 129-year-old church.

At 93, Maryellen Johnstone is the oldest member. She's  one of the generations of families who  attended school and worship at the church.

Phillip Hoffman benefited from the church's efforts to build a bridge to the community through outreach programs.

"They gave little Phil bags for Christmas. They gave us presents," he said as he held his son in his hand. He also noted how they helped him secure the church for minimal cost for services when his mother died.

The mergers are scheduled to happened July 1. Once they do there will be 236 parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese's five county region.

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