Darrell Clarke Calls to ‘Hold Off’ Demolition Saint Laurentius Church in Fishtown
Parishioners of Saint Laurentius Church in Fishtown have long been fighting to save their beloved sanctuary. Sunday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia declared that the 133-year-old former Catholic church was to be demolished, citing that costs of restoring the sacred structure, about $3.5 million, outweighed the cost of demolition, which would be around $1 million. Does it have one last Hail Mary (or Glory Be) to preserve its future?
Needless to say, it was a big blow to former parishioners developed a plan to save the church. Now, those cries for preservation, which were taken all the way to the Vatican, have a voice with a little bit of sway on the local political scene: City Council President Darrell Clarke. Clarke expressed his “disappointment” in the demolition announcement and that he was “hopeful” it would be preserved. Here’s more from the press release:
“The public’s safety must always come first, but it is my and others’ understanding that preservation is indeed possible, especially if the Vatican chooses to intervene. I respectfully ask the Archdiocese to hold off on demolition of St. Laurentius until parishioners who have appealed to the Vatican for assistance receive a formal response. St. Laurentius is special and sacred to so many families who have a generational attachment to this place of worship.
“As long as the public is in no immediate danger, the St. Laurentius community ought to be given time to seek the finances and assistance required to preserve the church. Historic preservation is an interest of the City as well. I hope to continue discussions with stakeholders in order to arrive at a more satisfying conclusion for all parties involved.”
In their plan, the Friend of Saint Laurentius Church unload a laundry list of reasons how and why they can save their church. Those include inflated cost estimate of repairs, an ignorance to the architectural techniques used using the 1800s and even that the Archdiocese wouldn’t allow them to use the $350,000 in fund raised from the sale of the parishioner-funded convent to help stabilize the church. “The Archdiocese stated that the funds from this sale could not be used to repair the church, but could only be used towards demolition,” says the report.
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