Five Roman Catholic churches in Bucks County will be closing July 1, including one in Bristol Borough, two in Bensalem and two in Levittown, according to an announcement released Sunday morning by officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The announcement follows “self-studies” of “Parish Planning Area 310” and “Parish Planning Area 300” commenced last September as part of the archdiocese’s Parish Planning Initiative to ensure sustainability proposed by former Philadelphia archbishop, Cardinal Justin Rigali, for the 5-county archdiocese in 2010.
According to a form letter provided by archdiocesan officials for the pastors to read at Saturday vigil and Sunday masses, all of the closed parishes will still serve as worship sites but their assets, debts, building and sacramental records will be transferred to the parishes with which they are merging.
“Due to a number of factors including a shift in Catholic population, a high density of parishes in our small area, as well as declines in Mass attendance, sacramental activity, the availability of priests to staff parishes and a review of facilities, mergers were proposed,” said the letter read by the pastors.
In a press release, archdiocesan officials noted that Saint Ann had 30 baptisms in 2012 down from 39 in 2008, 6 marriages down from 12 and 422 attending Weekend Mass down from 602.