Saint Laurentius church will stand

After almost three years of fighting to Save Saint Laurentius church, our Committee would like to comment on recent developments.

Like many of you, our main goal was to save Saint Laurentius Church as the vibrant place of worship, community and Catholicism that we know it is. Like you, we felt shocked and surprised that the AOP not only merged our parish, but closed our church under circumstances that were, at best, contested.

After trying to work within the parish and among the men making decisions for the archdiocese, we brought a larger group together to force the hierarchy to acknowledge that our Saint Laurentius Church is historic, beautiful and a community icon. Historians, preservationists & neighbors worked together to have the Historic Commission to deem the building historic.This preserves Saint Laurentius, the building.

You did that.  Saint Laurentius church will stand.

Our hope and our prayer was that this was just a step in that process, but it became painfully obvious that there was no process. There would be no meetings. There would be no compromise.  After THOUSANDS of emails and numerous calls, neither the AOP nor the parish council would meet with the committee.  After all this work, energy and soul-crushing effort, we had no seat at the decision-making table.

We did take an active interest in those developers who took interest in Saint Laurentius church.  Please know, we had no direct control and we have not been allowed inside the church.

Leo is a good, solid developer who is also a good person with a good family. He is a neighbor. His development in the church will maintain the building and its history, culture, character while allowing Saint Laurentius school to flourish. We hope that SAINT LAURENTIUS CHURCH will stand as a constant reminder that good and faithful people exist and that Fishtown is a great community.  We hope it is a legacy to the Polish immigrants who built it by hand and a testimony that Catholics are not only the hierarchy but are a people who believe in the good in people.   We hope it is a legacy to your effort.

Leo has committed to opening Saint Laurentius Church at some point so that all those who love Saint Laurentius church can visit and pray one more time.  Again, we know this is not ideal but it is so much more that the AOP has allowed.

Some of us believe that this option is the only legitimate option to save the church. We are not happy  but it seems this is that might be the best way to allow the Catholic Community, especially Saint Laurentius school, to continue in Fishtown.

Fishtown, through a complex and weird combination of community cohesiveness, great housing stock and economic shifts, has become a neighborhood of the new urban future. Other communities have gone through but Saint Laurentius Church will stand tall through all of these shifts.


Archdiocese Issues memo to fight preservation efforts

In a memo issued on January 7th, the Archdiocese warned pastors to not support preservation efforts.

The nonconsensual designation of churches and other religious property as land mark or historic property, or as part of a historic district, is a serious problem for many religions.  Without the consent of the religious community involved, these designations are an undue intrusion of Government into religious organizations, represent a threat to religious freedom and where historical designation does exist can result in a significant financial burden for the property owner. Many denominations, including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,desire exemption from these nonconsensual designation through legislative action or, if necessary, litigation from the courts.

In order to avoid any problems or misunderstandings in the pursuit of such remedies through the legislature or the courts, all Pastors, Directors and Administrators are requested not to become involved with or participate in the historic land marking of any buildings of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its parishes, either individually or as part of a district or accept offers of technical assistance and / or funding for such purpose, no matter how well-intentioned by offerees. Moreover, reports should promptly be made in writing to the Office of the Vicar for Administration whenever any attempted or proposed historic land marking and / or offer of technical help or funding become known.

Read more…

Parish Vs. Archdiocese Vs. Public Good In Catholic Preservation Fight
By Thomas Rzeznik, Hidden City – January 22, 2016

Archdiocese vows to fight preservationists
By Inga Saffron, Philadelphia Inquirer – January 14, 2016

New AD Directive is a Call to Arms
By Patrick Hildebrandt, Philadelphia Church Project – January 11, 2016

Tim Breslin Charity Fund

Click here to Donate to Save St. Laurentius

The Tim Breslin Charity Fund will be holding a first annual fundraiser benefiting Tim’s children. On Saturday October 17th, there will be a golf outing at Bensalem Township Country Club, followed by a benefit at Bensalem Township Country Club.

Bensalem Township Country Club
2000 Brown Avenue
Bensalem, PA  19020

Saturday, October 17th at 12:00 PM

Please make checks payable to “The Tim Breslin Charity Fund” and forward to :

Joe McMonigle
2791 Southampton Road
Philadelphia, PA  19154

Sponsorship Form

Deadline for sponsorship is October 1, 2015