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St. Donato’s Parish, in Overbrook, To Be Merged

(Photo provided by Philadelphia Church Project, phillychurchproject.com)

(Photo provided by Philadelphia Church Project, phillychurchproject.com)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The process of trimming the number of Catholic parishes in Philadelphia continues, with the announcement yesterday that St. Donato’s Church, in the Overbrook section of West Philadelphia, would be merged into a neighboring church.

This is yet another step in the “Pastoral Planning” process, and far from the last. These announcements are expected to keep coming through the spring of 2014, according to archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin.

“The goal of the process is not for the archdiocese to come down to a certain number of parishes,” he explained, “the goal is to make sure all the parishes in the archdiocese are vibrant and sustainable.”

Committees at every parish look at issues such as attendance and finances.  St. Donato’s weekly mass attendance was down to less than 200.

So, St. Donato’s will merge into Our Lady of Lourdes, which previously took in St. Callistus, closed earlier.   St. Donato, in the 400 block of North 65th Street, was an Italian national church and Gavin says it will remain a sanctuary.

“Those traditional ethnic devotions could be offered,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

The school at St. Donato’s (St. Francis School) will not be affected.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia now comprises 251 parishes, but six others are under scrutiny.

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