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By Justin Udo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the 37 churches caught in the midst of the mergers is Saint Leo the Great Parish in the Tacony section of Philadelphia (see related story).

Church members voiced their discontent with the Archdiocese’s decision to close their doors Sunday.

About 80 parishioners gathered on the steps of the 129-year-old church, praying it remain open.

“It’s like losing a family member. This is the heart of Tacony right here. To lose it would just be emotionally damaging,” said Ann-Marie Kuvik, a member of the Parish council.

She pled her case to keep the church open.

“We have followed the PPA process and now they want to close us. We are confused and have many questions,” Kuvik explained.

“I was born in 1919, I was baptized here. I never left Tacony,” said parishoner Mary Ellen Johnstone.

She says her parents were married here, her kids went to school here and this church is more then just brick and mortar.

Bob Durison hasn’t been at the chuch quite as long as Ms. Johnstone but he says this church houses some of the more memorible moments in his life.

“I’ve been here for 33 years, my children were baptized here and they were confirmed here. My sons were in scouts here, we’ve been Eucharistic ministers here,” said Durison.

He and others are hoping the church doors at least stay open for weddings and funerals.

The Archdiocese is merging Saint Leo’s with Our lady of Consolation, a parish that’s almost a mile away.

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