Our Lady of Ransom Parish will close, merge with Resurrection

Our Lady of Ransom will close June 19, but will remain open for worship on certain occasions.


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced on Sunday that Our Lady of Ransom Parish will be closing and merging with Resurrection of Our Lord.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput made the decision after reviewing recommendations of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee.

Resurrection, at Castor and Shelmire avenues in Rhawnhurst, will keep its name.

Our Lady of Ransom, at 6700 Roosevelt Blvd. in Castor Gardens, will close on June 19. It will remain open as a place for worship on certain occasions. The church can be used for Masses, weddings, funerals, feast days and traditional and ethnic devotions. The Rev. James R. DeGrassa has been named pastor for the newly merged parish.

The Rev, Thomas A. Nasta, pastor at Our Lady of Ransom, will become pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, in Swedesburg.

The Rev. Joseph E. Howarth, pastor at Resurrection, will become pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish, in Jenkintown.

The pastors met for several months with six representatives from Our Lady of Ransom, eight representatives from Resurrection, three representatives of the Portuguese Apostolate (which celebrates Mass at Resurrection) and a representative from the Deaf Apostolate.

The merger is due to a shift in Catholic population, a high density of parishes in a small area, declines in Mass attendance and sacramental activity, the availability of priests to staff parishes and a review of facilities. All parish property, assets, debts and sacramental records of Our Lady of Ransom will be assumed by Resurrection.

Resurrection and Our Lady of Ransom are less than two miles from each other.

The newly formed parish is projected to have 6,987 registered parishioners and 1,884 regular attendees at Sunday Mass.

In 2016, Resurrection had an average weekly Mass attendance of 1,485. Our Lady of Ransom had just 399. Baptisms and marriages were also declining at Our Lady of Ransom. In 2012, Our Lady of Ransom Elementary School closed due to dwindling enrollment. Students were sent to Resurrection. ••