Sunday, February 26, 2012

St. Peter Claver Fieldtrip


Project reader Michelle H. took a trip to St. Peter Claver recently, and was kind enough to send us the following care package:

We took the youth of our parish to a retreat at the Saint Peter Claver Center. The church used to be a parish, but now serves as an evangelization center for Black Catholics. It sits at 12th & Lombard. There's a plaque inside the church that tells its history. The church used to be a Protestant church, Presbyterian specifically (if I remember correctly). I was able to take some photos of the church, with the Project in mind. Architecturally, it's not in the upper echelon of Philly churches. However, this place was very special to Black Catholics who were devoted to their faith, but not allowed to worship in many other Catholic churches. This was the first Catholic church for Blacks in Philadelphia, so in that regard, it was and still is very special. Enjoy!

As I noted in our last post on this building, Peter Claver was allegedly undergoing renovation as part of a parish reopening. The place has not been officially re-added to the list of parishes, and Michelle reports seeing no scaffolding or any other signs of work. So,

1. Either the plans were shelved, or
2. The work hasn't begun yet.

Either way, take a gander at the photos below (click to enlarge). St. Peter Claver won't win any architectural awards, but there's some nice touches to the place. Many thanks, Michelle.

















5 comments:

  1. I was there in November for Pre-Cana. It was nice, but i hear that original alter was pulled out. There was interesting wall on interior of church. It had names on it. I doubt it is becoming a parish again.

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    1. I believe a portion of the main altar is still behind the plywood. It was constructed of wood and marble and is very ornate. I have a picture of it and it is quite old but I do recall it myself when I was in ministry there back in the late 1970's and early 80's. The side altar with the names is a Shrine to Our Lady of Victories which had what they called an Arch-Confraternity which I believe is no longer in existence. Great memories of that place!

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  2. What you see today is after the removations. Really ! It may have been shelved as a Parish but the entire interior was repainted.

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    1. The interior actually looks better than I expected it to. The interior painting does help. Shame that the main high altar (Reredos)is gone. It was awesome and inspiring! I DO believe that parts of it are ensconced behind the wood paneling. It would be incredible to find it intact! I have a framed picture taken in the early part of the 20th century that is incredible! Spent much time there in the early years of my ministry and have wonderful memories of some incredible ordinary folk who worshiped/ministered/served there and called it their spiritual home! Long live SPC!

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  3. I was confirmed there as a child (in 1967). I have a picture of the original altar.

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