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Bellmawr’s Mary, Mother of the Church Property Has Sold; Now an Islamic Learning Center

As the purchase of this new location is celebrated, the Masjid needs light construction in order to begin daily activities and worship.

Bellmawr’s Mary, Mother of the Church property, located at 20 Braisington Avenue, has sold.

The property is now an Islamic Learning Center.

On August 18, 2021, Noor Al Bayan ILC announced on Facebook:

We at Noor Al Bayan ILC Inc have been blessed to find a place to expand our community. We are working on buying a church in our area to create one of the largest Muslim community centers in South Jersey. We would like to buy this building to accommodate our services and invite all Muslims as well. We already have the property under contract. It is located at 20 Braisington Ave., Bellmawr. NJ 08031. We need to raise $600,000 dollars by the end of November 2021. We encourage every Muslim to support building new house of Allah…”

In a Facebook post dated January 11, 2022, Al Bayan ILCenter thanked the community for their generosity and assistance in purchasing the new Masjid (place of worship).

As the purchase of this new location is celebrated, the post stated that the Masjid needs light construction to begin daily activities and worship, and the cost of the construction is $109,000.

We appreciate all the physical and financial help from all around the country and our other fellow organizations. As we celebrate the purchase of this new location, the masjid needs light construction to begin daily activities and worship within our community. The price of construction will cost $109,000.00 for the completion of this project. This will cover plumbing, electrical, flooring, painting and even the Musalla (prayer carpets). We encourage every Muslim to support building the new house of Allah.

On February 17, 2022, the first Jumaa prayer was held in the new Masjid.

Friday or Jummah is considered the most important days of the week also known as the master of the week. (Source: Quran Reading.com)

Degree of Relegation of the Formerly Used Mary, Mother of The Church

On April 19, 2021, Bishop Dennis Sullivan issued a Decree Of The Relegation Of The Formerly Used Mary, Mother Of The Church, Bellmawr:

On May 19, 2010, the Parish of Saint Rita was formed from the merger of the Parish of Mary, Mother of the Church, Bellmawr, the Parish of Saint Francis de Sales, Barrington, and the Parish of Saint Gregory, Magnolia.

On June 30, 2014, the Parish of Saint Rita, Bellmawr, was dismembered, the Church, Mary, Mother of the Church, located at 20 Braisington Avenue, Bellmawr, being absorbed into the Parish of Saint Joachim, Bellmawr.

From that time on, use of the former Mary, Mother of the Church church was at first occasional and then later discontinued in favor of creating a one campus parish.

With the situation of an unused church and property and with the paramount objective being the pastoral care of the members of Saint Joachim Parish (canon 515§); the responsible use and stewardship of parish funds being for that end; consideration must now be given as to whether sufficiently grave causes exist for the relegation of the formerly used Mary, Mother of the Church church to profane but not sordid use.*

Prior to the pastor of Saint Joachim Parish, the Reverend Piotr Szamocki, petitioning for this DECREE, he assessed the opinions of various parishioners on the matter including the parish finance council and parish pastoral council.

The following grave causes suggest that the formerly used Mary, Mother of the Church church, located at 20 Braisington, Avenue, Bellmawr, New Jersey, be relegated to profane but not sordid use:

1) Saint Joachim Parish does not use nor need to use Mary, Mother of the Church church for divine worship because the Annunciation church, located on the principle campus, is adequate and accessible to all parishioners. Therefore, no detriment will be thereby done to the good of souls;
2) There is a growing financial burden in maintaining the unused former Mary, Mother of the Church church which, if not alleviated, will continue to strain the parish, and result in the diminishment and cessation of important pastoral programs for the transmission of the Catholic Faith and its traditions as well as outreach to the people within the vicinity of Saint Joachim Parish;
3) The church building is not at a level of architectural, historical, or artistic significance which would be necessary in order to pursue extraordinary funding from secular sources;
4) Since Saint Joachim Parish is increasingly burdened but still responsible for the repairing, maintenance and upkeep of the formerly used Mary, Mother of the Church church, the building will simply deteriorate, because there is no other source of funding available to care for this facility.

Accordingly, and in virtue of the prescripts of canon 1212 and canon 1222, §2 of the Code of Canon Law, having judged that sufficient grave causes are present and that the good of souls will not thereby be impaired; and having consulted with and heard the Presbyteral Council on March 25, 2021, at a meeting in which members deliberated, thoroughly and in depth, over the proposal and then recommended relegation of the formerly used Mary, Mother of the Church church to profane but not sordid use;

I hereby DECREE:

That the formerly used Mary, Mother of the Church Church in Bellmawr,
New Jersey be relegated to profane but not sordid use.
I further acknowledge that any proceeds from the sale of property and any improvements on the property where the formerly used Mary, Mother of the Church church is located belong to Saint Joachim Parish in Bellmawr, New Jersey.

This DECREE is effective immediately.

If a person considers himself or herself aggrieved by this administrative DECREE, that person is within his or her canonical rights to seek revocation or emendation according to the norm of canon 1734 and to make hierarchical recourse according to the norm of canon 1737.

I instruct that this DECREE be communicated immediately to the pastor of Saint Joachim Parish, the Reverend Piotr Szamocki who by virtue of the office of pastor represents the parish in all juridic affairs according to the norm of law (Canon 532); and that he communicate this DECREE to his parishioners at the next Sunday Masses and post a copy of this document in the vestibule of Annunciation church, parish of Saint Joachim.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given in Camden, on the 19th Day of April, in the Year of Our Lord, 2021.

Most Rev. Dennis J. Sullivan, D.D.
Bishop of Camden

Credit: Camden Diocese

SJO Photo

*Editor’s Note: Profane use is a term used in the Roman Catholic Church to refer to closed parish churches that will no longer be used as churches.

This is often done in preparation to sell the former church building to another party. In this context, Profane does not refer to swearing, but rather to the older definition of those things that take place outside the temple.

With church buildings that are to be sold, first the sacred items (such as consecrated hosts) will be removed from the church.

The Diocesan Bishop (or Archbishop) will issue a decree stating that the church building has been relegated to profane use. This has the effect of deconsecrating the church building.

Once this decree has been made the building is no longer an official church building. The diocese will sell the building for any use as long as it is not sordid.

(Credit: Wikipedia)

*Post updated on 3/10/2022 at 10:20 a.m.