Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative

We Are Hard “Pressed” to Understand Why Archbishop Chaput Does Not Hear Us!

One week ago, we rallied in front of the Archdiocese to ask Archbishop Chaput to hear us – his families seeking to understand the closure of our churches without a full explanation from those who decided this was best for the “salvation of souls” and would enable the Archdiocese to provide even better “pastoral care” to the faithful of Philadelphia. Before we are able to host the World Meeting of Families in 2015, we need to get our own house in order.

You have heard us and the press has heard us. We believe. We continue to work to get answers to our questions regarding the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative and the resulting abandonment of the lifeblood of the Church here in Philadelphia.

Al Dia pubished another article on our story this week. You can read it here. If you need to translate it to English, copy the url, visit Google Translate and simple paste in the url and hit “translate”.

We thank Channel 6 news, The Metro, Al Dia and you for caring about this most important issue.

Our thanks to Gilberto Gonzalez who shared this on Facebook.

Archbishop Chaput, please hear us!








Missed Our Rally…Highlights Here!

Photo by Charles Mostoller of The Metro
Photo by Charles Mostoller of The Metro

Thank you to everyone who braved the first day of Spring to attend a rally to urge Archbishop Chaput to redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiaitve. We scheduled this rally for now because in several days, Archbishop Chaput, Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett are traveling to Rome to ask the Pope to attend the World Meeting of Families help in Philadelphia in September, 2015. We wanted Archbishop Chaput to know that there are Philadelphia families who want to meet with him regarding the way this planning process was implemented.

Churches closed or merged based on this process. We maintain it is a severely and systemically flawed process that needs to be redone. You can read more about the reasons why here.

Our rally drew members of St. Joachim, La Milagrosa and St. Leo parishes.

Channel 6 news came but footage of our event did not make it onto TV as it was a very busy news day.

On Tuesday, March 19, we were featured in the Northeast Times. Tom Waring, editor, wrote “Parishioners of Closed Frankford Church Plan Rally”.

I think it’s interesting to see how reporter’s stories can be changed for one reason or another.  Sam Waterhouse, reporter for The Metro, wrote a story, initially, “Catholics from Closed Churches Seek Audience with Archbishop Ahead of World Congress of Families”. When the story appeared on Page 2 of today’s Metro (Friday, March 21), it was titled “Catholics Rally To Give Church a Second Chance”. Either way, I am happy that Sam was there and showed an interest in our situation.





Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative

Why Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative?

Pope Francis in a homily on March 18, 2014 reiterated what Isaiah told the people of Sodom and Gomorrah: “Redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea and defend the widow!” This assures us that we are on the “good path”!

That’s what we want for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, too!Rally Handout 1


Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative

Are You Under Study Now?

Now is the time to act if your parish has been one of the 46 being studied and probably recommendations have already been made. It is much easier to keep a church open than to have to re-open it. Make your voice heard if you believe that the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative is as flawed as what some of us have already experience. Working together, we can come up with a fairer, more inclusive process that doesn’t destroy parishes that for generations has served the Catholic families of this Archdiocese. The people who have sacrificed to keep these churches going need us to continue the legacy of the Church in our communities.

Look at this list. If you know people, contact them and bring them tomorrow! Join us at 12 Noon on Thursday, March 20, in front of the Archdiocese Office Building at 222 N. 17th Street.

See you there! Stand up to make your voice heard! God bless you!
photo credit: PMillera4 via photopin cc

Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative

Are We Traveling the “Good Path”?

Pope Francis recently gave a homily where he talked about how you know you’re traveling on the good path? We are all familiar with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Pope reminds us of what Isaiah also told the citizens of those cities, “Redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea and defend the widow.” Are we doing that?

That’s why we can seriously ask the Archbishop to “redress the wronged”: we whose churches were closed without involving those parishioners of those churches.

Read more of the Pope’s homily here.

photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC via photopin cc

Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative

We Wanted This To Go Viral But…

We made this last summer, the week after we learned we were closing. Since then, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, opened their doors to us to meet weekly, which we have since 6/1/13, on Wednesday nights to work to reopen St. Joachim, to network with our other sisters and brothers in Christ who have lost their churches, and to continue the work of St. Joachim in Frankford. We help feed the hungry on Saturdays and the Catholic Daughters relocated their food cupboard, Matthew 25, there. We are still Catholic and feel that we must be the Catholic presence in Frankford since both of our churches, St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa closed. We have filed a Vatican appeal of the Archbishop’s decree that merged us with Holy Innocents. It is not that we don’t want to go to Holy Innocents; it is that we cannot abandon all that our ancestors did so that the faith would be handed down to us. We must do the same. Our appeal is waiting to be heard by the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican Supreme Court).


Join Our Rally on Thursday, March 20

we need you finalIf you are here, you want to know more about our rally on Thursday, March 20 in front of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to ask Archbishop Chaput to “Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative”! We believe this is the only way to reach a fair and just apportioning of the resources for all the people of the Archdiocese. some parishes had to close but what and how that happens should truly involve all the parishioners. Please join to add your voice to our cause! Please bring a friend or two!

Our “Call to Action” Ad in The Metro (Page 8)

There will be an information table set up starting at 10:00 AM with a 12 Noon Rally at 222 N. 17th Street, the Archdiocesan Office Building. If you cannot join us, please call 215.587.3600 between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM. Ask for Archbishop Chaput. If he is not available, please leave a polite message asking him to “Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative”. Please remember to thank whoever takes your message.

Map of Area around Archdiocesan Office Building

We suggest that you use SEPTA if at all possible. There is limited parking at meters all around the area. The meters accept quarters and debit/credit cards. The cost is $1.00 per hour. (Handicapped placards and licenses get a free extra hour.) There is a parking garage at the Sheraton hotel – $14 – accessible from 17th St. or 16th St.

 Drop Off Zone                                                                                                                        For those who need to drop people off, there is a “Loading Zone” area in front of the Archdiocesan Office Building.

Handicapped or Disabled Access                                                                          Please feel free to bring a folding or lawn chair if you need to sit.

Questions or Need More Information                                                         Please email Pat Smiley, Organizer, at or call 215.520.5616

Thank you! God bless you! See you on Thursday!







Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative

“Spring” Into Action to “Redo the Area Pastoral Planning Process”!

The Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative began in 2010 with  “a pastoral letter from the Fall of 2010 which called on all parishes in the Archdiocese to determine if they possess the resources necessary to accomplish their roles in the mission of Christ while remaining sustainable and vibrant faith communities”. It continued in 2013 with an announcement from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that 46 parishes would undergo this study.  St. Joachim in Frankford was among them. We maintain that this process is severely and systemically flawed because:

  • It began with a premise that a certain number of churches had to be closed rather than what could be done to bolster them or at least ask new questions and try new ideas;
  • Some pastors involved their parishioners while others felt it was a “secret” process not to be discussed;
  • Some of the representatives on the Parish and Finance Councils are handpicked by the pastors because they totally and fully agree with them, thus leaving out all points of view;
  • Surveys were only distributed at the pastor’s discretion with no hierarchical oversight to see that it was in fact done;
  • Possible conflicts of interest if pastors and deans stood to gain by churches closing;
  • There were no meetings with some Parish and Finance Councils as proposed in the process;
  • This process did not allow for full participation by each parishioner even to ask them about their ideas or possibilities of willingly merging with other parishes rather than be closed;
  • The stated purpose of this planning process was for the “salvation of souls” and it failed as many “souls” are now lost and looking elsewhere for a spiritual home; and
  • Some communities (as Frankford) were left without any Catholic church after 160+ years of the faithful being faithful to their God and church.

While Vatican appeals were able to be filed, many do not have the resources to be able to do that. We know that churches had to be closed as for many years we were blessed with an abundance of them geographically close.

But such things cannot be dictated or done expecting that the people will just “accept” these decisions as being final – when they were never involved.

In June, 2013, 24 parishes were closed or merged.  More closures are expected this spring. It’s time for Philly Catholics to make their voices heard for the good of our faith.


Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative

Rally to Show the Archbishop the Need to Redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative!

Please visit often as we are developing our site. Many churches have been closed and will be closed as this Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative continues throughout the Archdiocese. We believe it is systemically flawed as it is not equitablly applied nor are parishioners adequately involved in many cases. Please show your support this Thursday, March 20, at 12 Noon in front of the Archdiocesan office building, 222 N. 17th St.! God bless you!PPA rally