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For Parishioners At Closing Philadelphia Area Churches, Sadness and Anger

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Area Catholics are still reeling from the announcement yesterday that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will close seven area churches (see related story).

Some two thousand parishioners will have to change to another church, come July 1st.

It’s a prospect that worries Roberta Koneski of St. Josephat’s in Manayunk, which is slated to become part of St. John the Baptist parish.

“We have a lot of elderly around here,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “We all walk around here to churches, and it is totally unfair that we all to find another parish to go to.”

Koneski thinks there won’t be enough room at St. John’s for the 500-plus parishioners coming from two closing parishes.

The archdiocese used a number of criteria to rationalize which parishes to close, but that means little to those losing churches.

Fr. Gene Sheridan, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Germantown, is trying to help his members.

“I feel sorry for them, but we have some time to make this transition before July, and I hope to convey my own sense of optimism,” he says.

The archdiocese says there will be an appeals process.

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