Possible merger for Our Lady of Ransom, Resurrection

On Sunday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that Our Lady of Ransom and Resurrection of Our Lord would be taking part in the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative.

The pastor and three representatives from each parish comprise the local area pastoral planning committee. The committee will submit positive and negative aspects of the partnership model and merger model for the parishes.

The goal is to provide pastors, after consulting their lay parish leadership and parishioners, with the opportunity to dialogue with members of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee in providing comments for parish growth and sustainability.

The regional bishop and dean are expected to meet with pastors as well as their pastoral and finance councils to hear their opinions.

The Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee, the Council of Priests and the College of Consultors provide input to Archbishop Charles Chaput, who will make the final decision.

There are two potential outcomes. A merger could result in one newly formed parish, with all assets and debts being assumed by the new parish. Or, the parishes could each remain open, with one pastor, one pastoral council and one staff serving in a partnership, but with a separate financial arrangement.

The Parish Area Pastoral Planning will conclude this spring, with decisions taking effect on July 1.

Resurrection was founded in 1928 at Castor and Shelmire avenues in Rhawnhurst. The first parishioners were reassigned from St. Martin of Tours, Maternity BVM and St. Cecilia.

Our Lady of Ransom was founded on Dec. 8, 1954, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, to relieve fast-growing parishes St. Martin’s, St. Timothy, St. Matthew and Resurrection.

Prior to the church being built at Unruh Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard in Castor Gardens, parish meetings were held at the old Vitale’s restaurant at Bustleton and St. Vincent. The first Mass was held in the Castor Theatre. Today, Our Lady of Ransom bills itself as the “Beacon on the Boulevard.”

According to each church’s most recent weekly bulletin, Resurrection brought in $6,834.74 in Mass collections on Jan. 7–8. Our Lady of Ransom collected $3,575.

Back in 2012, the archdiocese announced that Our Lady of Ransom School would close, with students sent to Resurrection. The reasons cited were declining enrollment, births and baptisms.

Our Lady of Ransom appealed, but lost, and the school closed. ••