Goodbye to Our Lady of Ransom

The church will have a quiet sendoff this weekend before merging with Resurrection of Our Lord.

Final sendoff: There will be a small reception after each Mass this weekend during Our Lady of Ransom’s final week of services. TIMES FILE PHOTO

There will be a very quiet send-off for Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Church this weekend.

On May 21, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput announced that Our Lady of Ransom would be closing and merging with Resurrection of Our Lord, effective June 19.

Chaput informed the Rev. Thomas A. Nasta, the pastor, two days earlier. Nasta will become pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, in Swedesburg, a small town near Norristown.

Nasta said 30 days’ notice was not enough time to plan an elaborate party. The closed school building, sold to the archdiocese to house archives, is not in shape to host an event.

Instead, there will be a small reception with light refreshments after each Mass. The Mass schedule is Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m.

The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will continue to reside in the convent.

Resurrection, at Castor and Shelmire avenues in Rhawnhurst, will keep its name. The Rev. James R. DeGrassa has been named pastor for the newly merged parish.

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

Our Lady of Ransom, at 6700 Roosevelt Blvd. in Castor Gardens, billed itself as the “Beacon on the Boulevard.” The church will close on Monday. It will remain open as a place for worship on certain occasions. The church can be used for weddings, funerals, feast days and traditional and ethnic devotions.

The merger is due to declines in Mass attendance and sacramental activity.

From July 2016 to April 2017, Our Lady of Ransom had an average weekly Mass attendance of just 378. That’s an average of 126 people at each of the three Masses. The seating capacity is 1,100.

Weekly collections average $4,100. Nasta said the parish needed $8,500 each week to balance the budget. The total operating loss has been about $500,000 the last four years.

There have been only two baptisms, five first Communions, six confirmations, no weddings and 11 funerals so far this year. The Parish Religious Education Program was discontinued last September due to lack of students.

In 2012, Our Lady of Ransom Elementary School closed due to dwindling enrollment. Students were sent to Resurrection. ••