A Delaware County Catholic Church is on the verge of being closed, but its legacy continues in the nearby parish it helped create.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia today announced that Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez has approved the relegation from the Church of the Holy Spirit at Sharon Hill for secular but not sordid use, effective November 15, 2021.

The canonical designation means that the building will no longer serve as a place of worship for St. George’s Parish of Glenolden – with which it merged in July 2014 – and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

The information was shared with the parishioners of St. George at all masses over the weekend of October 2-3.

The increase in repair costs and a significant drop in mass attendance at the site of the Holy Spirit motivated the decision, according to a press release from the archdiocese. After the amalgamation, parishioners turned to Mass at St. George, located just over a mile from Saint-Esprit. Since January 2015, there has been no request to perform baptisms, weddings or funerals at the place of worship.

The condition of the building has deteriorated considerably in recent years and restoration costs are currently estimated at $ 523,000, plus $ 73,000 per year for maintenance.

The original former Holy Spirit Parish Church at Sharon Hill, built in 1892 and replaced by the current structure in 1961. (St, George Parish website)

The Archdiocese said such numbers could “(jeopardize) the financial solvency” of St. George, which is struggling with its own repair expenses – including several for the old Holy Spirit School building, which the parish now rents to a third party – amid declining income in recent years exacerbated by the pandemic.

From a historical point of view, the closing of the place of worship marks a sort of “complete turn” for the Holy Spirit and Saint George.

Founded in 1892, Holy Spirit began as a small Gothic-style church that could accommodate 250 people and built for just $ 14,000, according to a parish history on St. George’s website. The school, run by the Sisters of the Holy Child, opened in 1901.

A constant influx of European immigrants, drawn to the work of the mills and factories along the Delaware River, kept the benches full – so much so that new parishes sprang up, including St. George in 1923.

In 1949, Holy Spirit expanded its school, and in November 1961 the parish dedicated the current church building, which featured a stained glass window depicting President John F. Kennedy, inaugurated that year as the country’s first Catholic president. .

Among the local faithful, Holy Spirit prides itself on its own celebrity: Cardinal John Foley (1935-2011), Catholic media pioneer and son of the parish.

By the end of the 20th century, however, the numbers had declined, in part due to a decline in manufacturing in the region. The school closed in 2002, and the parish amalgamation took place a little over a decade later.

The “bittersweet” transition has also been a blessing, according to the St. George website.

“The church from which St. George’s Parish was originally formed has now become one with St. George,” he says. “Our original namesake, the Holy Spirit, was surely watching over us indeed! We have created a “new” parish community where we live today, still rooted in faith, strengthened by hope and growing in love.