Minneapolis parish’s financial challenges prompted decision
St. Philip parish in Minneapolis will merge with nearby Ascension parish on June 1, archdiocesan officials announced April 30.
The decision came after leaders at St. Philip informed the archdiocese that financial challenges at the 250-household parish had become insurmountable, according to a statement on the archdiocesan website.
St. Philip was not one of the 21 parishes slated to merge as a result of the archdiocesan Strategic Plan, announced last October.
“When the archdiocese launched its strategic planning process a little more than two years ago, it was our hope that St. Philip could stabilize financially and would be able to remain open,” Archbishop John Nienstedt said in the online statement. “Unfortunately, over the past several months it has become clear that this is simply not possible. I offer my condolences and prayerful support to all those who are impacted by this decision.”
Father Michael O’Connell, pastor at Ascension, said his parish, which is about half a mile from St. Philip, is ready to welcome the St. Philip parishioners.
Chaplaincy to serve immigrants
A community of French-speaking African immigrants at St. Philip will move to St. William in Fridley, where a chaplaincy will be established. Father Jules Omba Omalanga, St. Philip’s current pastor, will serve as chaplain.
“The St. William family is very happy to open our arms to these French-speaking African Catholics,” said Father Joseph Whalen, pastor at St. William. “We are excited about the opportunity to learn from and share with one another.”
After the merger, St. Philip’s church building will be closed. Parish leaders have not yet determined if St. Philip’s community outreach programs will continue.
According to church law, St. Philip parishioners have until May 11 to request that Archbishop Nienstedt reconsider the merger if they wish to do so.