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Save Saint Laurentius Church on Berks St. in Philadelphia

This petition had 2,774 supporters


Over 130 years ago, Philadelphians in the Fishtown neighborhood built Saint Laurentius Church with their hands to give their families a place to pray, to grow, to mourn and to celebrate.  Many of these families were new to the United States and came to escape the oppression of new rule in Poland.  Under the roof of this beautiful brownstone church, people shared common woes and joys, new relationships were forged under God and a beautiful community grew from that. 

Generations of Fishtowners and newcomers alike have gathered here to worship, to baptize, to confess, take communion, marry and mourn.  What impresses me even more than this magnificent church, is the strong sense of community that this parish fostered. 

When you live in a city rich with architectural marvels, it is easy to start to take them for granted.  Designed by the prominent ecclesiastical and theatrical architect, Edwin Forrest Durang, Saint Laurentius inspires awe in those fortunate enough to enter the sanctuary.  With its breathtaking interior covered in priceless art and gilding, impressive carved altar and woodwork, intricate cut and stained glass windows, impressive brownstone facade and copper spires, not to mention the undeniable Polish-American cultural ties, St. Laurentius surely seems to meet the requirements for historical designation on a multifaceted level. The parishioners would like to be given the opportunity to acquire such designation by the City of Philadelphia's Historic Commission in order to cease any plans for this church's destruction.  

Like the generations before them who invested sizable sums to keep this church maintained and to allow for the addition of a rectory, convent, and school, the parishioners once again have come together... this time to save their beloved church.  They have raised substantial capital funds to do these repairs.  Please do not let this beautiful landmark and her community be smashed to bits and fade from memory.  This parish is fixable.  It can be repaired.  

Parishioners have been working diligently for the past year to save this parish church.  They hired a Canon lawyer and when it was announced last spring that the parish was to be closed, they filed a formal appeal to the Vatican.  According to Canon Law, nothing can be done to destroy or alter this structure until the Vatican has released its formal decision on the appeal and yet, with St. Laurentius' case still under Vatican review, on March 22, 2015 the Archdiocese of Philadelphia made a formal announcement that they are moving forward with the demolition and will be seeking permits.  

This parish, both the Gothic brownstone and the parishioners, deserve better than its unnecessary destruction.  It can be saved, and it should be saved.  The Archidocese should not be allowed to move forward with demolition until the formal reply from the Vatican is received.  Please heed the call for help and allow the Parishioners the opportunity to repair their church so that more generations can come and experience the majesty within these walls.  Please help us stop the wrecking ball from reducing this historic and cultural landmark to dust.



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