Friday, July 2, 2010

The Philadelphia Church Project's Bottom 10: #5

Now we get to the fun part. The bottom five--the worst of the worst. Which churches will have the inglorious honor of appearing on this list?

To answer, let's start with a neighborhood that succeeds in almost every area except the one that counts: church architecture. I'm speaking, of course, about Chestnut Hill.

#5: Our Mother of Consolation

Why They're Here:

Unimpressive size and bland ornamentation (or none at all). Our Mother of Consolation (OMC) is pretty much a failure on all architecture levels. Hard to believe this is actually six years younger than Assumption BVM, no?

Why They're Not Lower:

They've got cojones. The church is unimpressive by design; it was built that way to fool the neighbors, who didn't want a Roman Catholic church as a neighbor. The Project appreciates the audacity of the tactic, and we reward them by not making them #1. But there's really no way we can leave it off the list.


  1. I have never understood why this place gets such a high regular attendance while its much grander parish neighbor Holy Cross struggles to stay afloat.

  2. People often choose parishes based on ecclesiastical reasons--style of the service, parish staff, etc.--not architectural ones. I don't necessarily blame them, but the result is that many stunning churches struggle or go under, while less-impressive ones prosper.

  3. So many beautiful churches have gone under....Transfiguration, Assumption, Saint Aloysius in South Philadelphia (closed in 1999), Saint Stephen's, Saint Raphael's, Saint Bonaventure.....

  4. Our Mother of Consolation is " run" by the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales.
    Maybe that's the reason it does so well???
    Non diocesan clergy ????
    In spite of the building .. ....
    Hummmm ???? could it be a sign ????