Parish closing plan changes

CAMDEN, N.J. - August 27, 2008 - St. Vincent Pallotti parish in Haddon Township is totally handicapped accessible with two brand new buildings. Initially scheduled to close it's doors and merge with St. Aloysius in Oaklyn, Bishop Joseph Gallante now says it will remain open as a worship site even though the merged parish will remain at St. Aloysius.

Parish council Ed Pierzynski says, while he's pleased the bishop says the church will remain open, he believe St. Vincent should be the parish headquarters.

"Even his own committee, the planning committee and the accessibility committee, said this should be the overwhelming selection, and yet he refuses to take that advice." Pierzynski said.

Pierzynski added the parish will continue its effort against merging. The news from the diocese is better for St. Joseph's Pro-Cathedral in Camden. Initially slated to merge with two Pennsauken churches, the predominantly latino parish will remain a stand alone parish.

"This parish is very needed her in this community. We give services to people in the community and I'm very happy that he saw that and made that decision, " said parishioner Rosa Ramirez.

Tiny St. Mary's Malaga, which also staged protest against closing, has not gotten a reprieve from the diocese and is petitioning the Vatican for help.

Fewer church going Catholics and a shortage of priests are the main reasons for the closures. The bishop adds he's also looking to create stronger parishes with better outreach programs.

Eventually, the archdiocese will be reduced from 124 to 68 parishes.

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