Decree establishes St. Joseph the Worker Parish

Bishop Joseph Galante formally announced today the establishment of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, formed through the consolidation of St. Vincent Pallotti, Haddon Township, and St. Aloysius, Oaklyn, effective Oct. 12.

The announcement establishing the new parish was made in a formal decree, which is published in this edition of the Catholic Star Herald (pp. 14-15).

Father Walter Norris has been named pastor of the new parish for a six-year term.

St. Vincent Pallotti will be the seat of the parish, serving the pastoral needs of the 1,500 Catholics in Haddon Township and Oaklyn, with St. Aloysius remaining open as a worship site. The parish boundaries will be those of the merging church communities.

It is the 36th decree issued by Bishop Joseph Galante in a diocesan-wide reconfiguration of parishes announced two years ago to strengthen parishes and improve pastoral care to the people of the diocese. The reconfigurations are a result of more than a year of study by parish and deanery planners, who considered population and demographic trends, the number of diocesan priests available for ministry, Mass attendance and trends in religious practice.

In discussing the merger, Father Norris praised the “open-mindedness and cooperation of the parishioners from both churches” who made up the core team instrumental in the merger process.

The members “poured their hearts and souls into cementing both churches as one parish,” he said. “The success of this merger is due to their diligence for achieving a Catholic community that will be enduring and caring.”

Acknowledging that at first there had been some hardships in the merger process, core team member Claire Blake, from St. Aloysius, said that “both parishes are (now) ready to move forward as one, as St. Joseph the Worker Parish.”

Blake added that when she attends Mass at the two churches, she hears the “positive response from the people” about the merger.

Frank Liberi, a core team member from St. Vincent Pallotti, also expressed optimism for the newly-formed parish.

“There are a lot of strengths from both churches, that we can draw from,” he said, adding that the core members were a “dedicated team” that “seemed to gel together really quickly.”

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