The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Dec. 6 that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. relegated the Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church building in Levittown to profane but not sordid use effective Jan. 1, 2016. This formal, canonical designation means that the church will no longer serve as worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church. This information was shared with Queen of the Universe parishioners at Masses this past weekend.
In addition, the Archdiocese announced that Archbishop Chaput relegated the St. Gertrude Church building in Conshohocken to profane but not sordid use effective Jan. 1, 2016. The church will no longer serve as worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church. St. Matthew parishioners were informed of this decision during Masses this past weekend.
According to a statement from the Archdiocese, the Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church building required annual ordinary maintenance costs of approximately $150,000 which excludes deferred maintenance expenses. Queen of the Universe Parish has a debt of $962,938, most of which was inherited by Queen of the Universe from the former Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Parish.
The statement also noted that Queen of the Universe is not able to financially sustain its vital pastoral works and alleviate its debt should it attempt to repair and maintain Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church. Additionally, there have been very few requests to use Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church for public worship.
In addition, the statement said the St. Gertrude Church building required annual ordinary maintenance costs of approximately $68,000 and excludes deferred maintenance. The former St. Gertrude parish rectory, now vacant, is physically attached to the church and also must be maintained as long as the church is in use. The additional costs associated with these portions of the property are approximately $40,000 annually exclusive of deferred maintenance.
According to the statement, St. Matthew Parish has kept the St. Gertrude Church complex in good repair and is currently able to meet its expenses. However, the growing pastoral needs of the parish have required a commitment to renovate space adjacent to the St. Matthew Parish Church for pastoral, educational, and administrative purposes as well as general parish usage. The commitment to this capital project precludes the ability of the parish to further maintain St. Gertrude Church without negatively impacting the ministries of the parish. Additionally, there have been very few requests to use St. Gertrude Church for public worship.