The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced on December 7th that it is formally closing Saint Gertrude Parish as a worship site on January 1st. Below are the three key sections of the press release that deal with Saint Gertrude Parish:
In July 2014, Saint Gertrude Parish (West Conshohocken), Saint Mary Parish (Conshohocken) and Saints Cosmas and Damian Parish (Conshohocken) merged with Saint Matthew Parish (Conshohocken) as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. At that time, each parish merged at the location and retained the name of Saint Matthew Parish.
At that time of the merger, the Saint Gertrude Church building became a worship site of the newly formed Saint Matthew Parish and was available for the occasional celebration of Mass as well as funerals and weddings as is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. relegated the Saint Gertrude Church building to profane but not sordid use effective January 1, 2016. This formal, canonical designation means that the church will no longer serve as worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.
The formal request to close this worship site originated from the pastor of Saint Matthew Parish after consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils. Both of those advisory bodies supported the request, which was then reviewed by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests and presented to Archbishop Chaput, who, after a careful review of all supporting factors, made the final decision.
The Saint Gertrude Church building requires annual ordinary maintenance costs of approximately $68,000. That figure is exclusive of deferred maintenance. The former Saint Gertrude parish rectory, now vacant, is physically attached to the church and also must be maintained as long as the church is in use. In addition, the church parking lot requires ongoing upkeep. The additional costs associated with these portions of the property are approximately $40,000 annually exclusive of deferred maintenance.
Saint Matthew Parish has endeavored to keep the Saint Gertrude Church complex in good repair and is currently able to meet its expenses. However, the growing pastoral needs of the parish have required a commitment to renovate space adjacent to the Saint Matthew Parish Church for pastoral, educational, and administrative purposes as well as general parish usage. The commitment to this capital project precludes the ability of the parish to further maintain Saint Gertrude Church without negatively impacting the ministries of the parish. Additionally, there have been very few requests to use Saint Gertrude Church for public worship.
When Saint Gertrude and Saint Matthew Parishes merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Saint Gertrude Parish were transferred to the newly formed Saint Matthew Parish. These transfers are standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.
As such, the former Saint Gertrude Church building is the property of Saint Matthew Parish. The future disposition of this building will be determined by the pastor of Saint Matthew Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for continued parish viability and sustainability.
We will keep you posted as we learn more.