Philly’s Pain, Raleigh’s Gain

 

Ascension of Our Lord Parish | Photo: Bradley Maule

Ascension of Our Lord Parish | Photo: Bradley Maule

What two shuttered Philadelphia Catholic churches are losing, a new cathedral in Raleigh, NC stands to gain.

Forty-two stained glass windows have been removed from the Ascension of Our Lord Parish in Kensington. The windows, 17 feet in height, are being restored, panel by panel, by Beyer Studio in Germantown. When finished, they’ll find a new home at the Cathedral of the Holy Name of Jesus. The Diocese of Raleigh estimates the project, which includes the 2,000-seat cathedral, a gathering hall, and a three-story parking garage, will cost between $75 and $90 million. So far, about $62 million has been raised.

Beyer Studio has dedicated a page on its website to the restoration of the glass, as well as a few short videos narrated by Joseph Beyer on the history of several windows just prior to their removal.

The diocese has also acquired 14 panels depicting the Stations of the Cross from St. Francis of Assisi Church in Germantown. The three-by-five panels, reports the diocese, are in good condition and require minimal restoration.

Ascension, which opened in 1914, and St. Francis, erected in 1928, were both included in Hidden City’s top ten list of significant, vulnerable churches in 2013. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which still owns the two structures, closed both in 2012.

About the author

Christopher Mote covers stories of preservation, planning, zoning and development. He lives in South Philadelphia and has a special fondness for brownstone churches and mansard roofs.

Send him a message at: motecw[at]hotmail[dot]com



4 Comments


  1. In the early 1990s, I discerned a call to the priesthood at St. Charles Seminary. Our dean at the time was Father Michael Burbidge. Several years after I left the seminary, I was attending Sunday mass in Elkins Park and was very surprised that the guest celebrant was Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina.
    This story sounds so much like the Father Burbidge I remember. A true proud Philadelphian, huge Eagles and Phillies and Sixers fan. I think it’s wonderful that he is saving a piece of home and taking it with him.
    Great story!

  2. Better to reuse the stained glass windows than destroy them. At least people in North Carolina will get to enjoy them.

  3. I took these pictures of the stain glass windows of Holy Name Church in Fishtown. One never knows when another Catholic church will close and be forgotten.
    http://romanblazicwordsandpictures.blogspot.com/2014/02/windows-of-soul.html

  4. James Derogatis

    The church is now covered graffiti. Whatever windows remain have been broken. I grew up a few blocks from this Church and its architecture is magnificent. Its unfortunate that the so called historic commission and preservation societies in Philadelphia are always MIA when it comes to preserving neighborhood gems.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
L&I An Overlooked Asset To Historic Preservation Efforts

L&I An Overlooked Asset To Historic Preservation Efforts

November 16, 2018  |  Vantage

Dana Rice looks at "demolition by neglect" and the potential of the Department of Licenses and Inspections as an unlikely ally in the fight to solve Philly's preservation crisis > more

The Making & Breaking Of The Philadelphia Commercial Museum

The Making & Breaking Of The Philadelphia Commercial Museum

November 14, 2018  |  Vantage

Edward Duffy takes us back when industry, commerce, and foreign trade flooded the halls of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, the first institution of its kind in the United States > more

Rare Books Department At FLP Examines A City In Transition

Rare Books Department At FLP Examines A City In Transition

November 9, 2018  |  News

Affordable housing, displacement and gentrification, demolition for redevelopment--sounds a lot like today's local headlines, but Philly has been dealing with these issues for decades. This and more is addressed in the new exhibition, "Philadelphia: The Changing City," now on view at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Ali Roseberry-Polier has the review. > more

Dispatch From the Dolomites: Lamenting the Loss of Northern Italy's Philly Twin

Dispatch From the Dolomites: Lamenting the Loss of Northern Italy’s Philly Twin

November 7, 2018  |  Vantage

Contributor Ann de Forest dials home from Italy where she visits a little chapel that, until recently, had a sibling on Christian Street > more

Secluded Stone Stairway On Lincoln Drive Revealed

Secluded Stone Stairway On Lincoln Drive Revealed

November 2, 2018  |  Vantage

A mysterious set of stairs next to Monoshone Creek leads Sharon Barr on a path to uncover its origins > more

The Ghastly Tale Of South Philly’s Cult Of The Holy Ghost

The Ghastly Tale Of South Philly’s Cult Of The Holy Ghost

October 30, 2018  |  Vantage

A secretive cult dedicated to the worship of a Swiss woman met a horrific end in 19th century South Philly. Ryan Briggs unearths the grim details > more