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Vatican upholds Diocese's consolidation of Panther Valley parishes

LANSFORD, Pa. - The Vatican Congregation for Clergy has rejected appeals filed by parishioners of the former St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Nesquehoning and the Former St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Lansford, who objected to the 2016 consolidation of their parishes into St. Joseph's Parish in Summit Hill, according to a press release from the Diocese of Allentown. 

In  separate, six-page decisions signed by Cardinal Benjiman Stella, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, the Congregation found that the petitions filed by the parishioners do not "have any canonical basis either in law or in fact" and are "rejected," the release stated. 

According to the release, in both rulings the Congregation "accepts the evidence that the actions taken by the Ordinary (Bishop) were necessary to prevent all three parishes in Panther Valley becoming non-viable and insolvent. It is satisfied that he has sought to establish one viable parish, which will be able to carry out the mission of the Church in that area well into the future."

Petitioners at Lansford also petitioned against the closing of Our Lady of the Angels Academy. The Congregation for Clergy said that question has been transferred to the Congregation for Catholic Education, which has competence in that area. The Diocese has not received any notification from that congregation on the status of that appeal, according to the release. 

The petitioners have been notified and may appeal the Congregation's rejection to the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's Highest Court, the release stated. 


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