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.
Reaction to the closing of the Immaculate Conception worship site was mixed, according to Father Michael Hennelly, the pastor. There was sadness on the part of the founders of Immaculate Conception, but they were most grateful for all that has been done to welcome them.
Some of what has been done to welcome former Immaculate Conception worshippers include having a stonemason move a beloved grotto to the Blessed Virgin from the Immaculate Conception campus to Queen of the Universe, as well as other sacred artifacts.
One of the most prominent items will be the crucifix used at the altar of the Mass celebrated Sept. 27 by Pope Francis on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway which has been given to Queen of the Universe. The corpus on the crucifix was from the large crucifix above the altar at Immaculate Conception.
The process of integrating the two parishes into the “New Queen of the Universe” was facilitated by the presence of members of both communities in the transition team and the new pastoral and finance councils as well as from the growing Hispanic community within the parish.
The highest compliment Father Hennelly received was from one of the founding members of Immaculate Conception who told him he never felt at home in a parish.
“We have a great staff and great volunteers who make it work,” Father Hennelly said.