Christ the Redeemer Parish in Mount Holly, which has experienced declining attendance and growing financial struggles over the last decade, will close its church and undergo canonical suppression, it was announced March 20 and 21.
The announcement came in a letter from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., to Father Daniel Peirano, Christ the Redeemer pastor. In the letter, Bishop O’Connell cited his acceptance of the pastor’s recommendation to close the parish after consultation and unanimous support of the diocesan Presbyteral Council. Father Peirano informed his parishioners of the closure during weekend Masses.
Christ the Redeemer was first established in 1977 as a personal parish for Spanish-speaking Catholics in the Mount Holly area of Burlington County. Eroding membership over the last 10 years led to struggles for the parish to support its ministries and maintain its facilities, according to Terry Ginther, chancellor and executive director of the Diocese’s Office of Pastoral Life and Mission.
The difficulties were acknowledged in 2017 when, as part of the diocesan pastoral planning initiative, Faith in Our Future, the parish was cited as needing further study to determine its viability. Since that time, efforts to assist the parish included a pastoral and temporal evaluation, diocesan consultation on managing finances, the establishment of an internal pastoral plan and collaboration with nearby Sacred Heart Parish, also in Mount Holly. However, the downward trends with Christ the Redeemer persisted and have only accelerated during the pandemic, leaving the parish with fewer than 100 active families.
Bishop O’Connell issued the decrees required for the closure. In his letter, he noted that the final date for Masses to be celebrated in Christ the Redeemer Church will be Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2021. The Bishop asked Father Peirano to encourage his parishioners to join area parishes “so that their future pastoral needs might be met.”
All parish sacramental registries and other records will be moved and maintained at Sacred Heart Parish. At the appropriate time, the church and other property connected to the parish will be sold; the proceeds of which will be used to pay off financial debt and then be forwarded to the area parishes to which Christ the Redeemer parishioners move, according to the letter.
Bishop O’Connell concluded his announcement by thanking the community’s faithful. He wrote, “I am most grateful to all the parishioners who have been part of and supported Christ the Redeemer Parish since its inception . . . As with any closing, there will be some sadness but the opportunities to be part of neighboring parishes and all they have to offer will be a blessing.”
The Monitor will have further coverage on Christ the Redeemer Parish in the coming months on TrentonMonitor.com.