By David Madden

By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This is a nervous time for thousands of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. They will learn this weekend the fate of their parishes, as administrators seek to further streamline church operations.

There have already been a handful of mergers announced this year in parts of the Philadelphia and Chester County.  But members of 37 parishes in Philadelphia and Delaware County have been on the bubble for months.

Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin says church members will likely receive letters in the mail along with announcements from the pulpit at weekend masses.

“Mergers will not occur in every instance,” Gavin tells KYW Newsradio.  “As an end result of the process, in some instances parishes will remain freestanding.”

Those that don’t will have at least a month to prepare.

While the changes are targeted to take effect on July 1st, that’s more of a church law and accounting deadline.  The mergers, and any facility closures, will be phased in, according to church officials.

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