Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has created a new ‘quasi-parish’ for Catholics interested in the Traditional Latin Mass.
From August 1, the former St Mary parish in Conshohocken – which was subject to a merger in 2014 – will be handed to the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP). Under canon law, a quasi-parish is equivalent to a full parish but with certain exceptions. If the venture is deemed a success, Archbishop Chaput can turn it into a permanent parish.
“In response to a growing interest, it has become timely to provide additional pastoral care for those wishing to participate in Divine Worship in the Extraordinary Form,” Archbishop Chaput said.
“While it remains to be seen if this community will flourish so as to become a parish, the establishment of a quasi-parish to provide this spiritual care appears to be most fitting at this time,” he added.
The FSSP is an international fraternity of priests who celebrate exclusively according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is currently active in 39 dioceses in the US, and has 96 priests working in 54 apostolates throughout the country.
This year, the Vatican also granted it a special indult to celebrate Holy Week liturgy according to the pre-1955 rubrics.
After St Mary’s ceased to be an independent parish in 2014, a local group formed to keep the church open as a centre for the Polish community. David Swedkowski, executive director of the Saint Mary Polish American Society, welcomed the new quasi-parish.
“The Society will continue to exist and focus on promoting Polish heritage in Montgomery County and continuing to raise money so the Fraternity can successfully care for St Mary’s,” he said.
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