Mater Dolorosa to celebrate feast day Mass next month

A step backward: Mater Dolorosa, 1676 Ruan St., has been closed since July 1, 2013, though it’s been available as a worship site upon request. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that the church will no longer have that opportunity. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church, 1676 Ruan St. in Frankford, will hold a feast day Mass on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 4 p.m. The Mass will be celebrated by the Rev. John J. Large.

Afterward, there will be food and refreshments in the parish hall. Call 215–743–2600 for information.

The Mass could be the last one celebrated at Mater Dolorosa, as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced on Sunday that the church will no longer be used as a worship site.

The church has been closed since July 1, 2013, though it’s been available as a worship site upon request.

The archdiocese said that there have been few requests to use the church for worship. The church was closed initially because of dwindling Mass attendance and a declining number of baptisms and marriages.

At that time, the parish was merged into Holy Innocents, in Juniata. All of Mater Dolorosa’s real estate holdings, assets and debts were transferred to Holy Innocents.

Large was the popular pastor when Mater Dolorosa closed. He is now the pastor at St. Paul Parish, 923 Christian St. in South Philadelphia.

The future disposition of the Mater Dolorosa building will be determined by the Rev. Thomas Higgins, pastor of Holy Innocents, in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils.

The annual cost of maintaining the Mater Dolorosa property is about $45,200, according to the archdiocese. Necessary deferred maintenance costs are estimated at $55,000.

While Holy Innocents Parish has approximately $2.5 million in savings, the parish is also carrying nearly $500,000 in debt.

Holy Innocents also has responsibility for shuttered churches at St. Joan of Arc and St. Joachim and a mission center for Hispanic Catholics.

Former parishioners at St. Joachim, 1527 Church St. in Frankford, have appealed the closing of their church to the Vatican. St. Joachim, founded in 1845, was the oldest Catholic church in the Northeast. ••