St. Peter the Apostle Church celebrates 175 years

In honor of this occasion it will be hosting three celebratory events

Fr. Richard S. Bennett, C.Ss.R.

A staple of the Northern Liberties landscape, the St. Peter the Apostle Church, located at 1019 N. 5th St. has been serving its religious community for the past 175 years. To help celebrate this significant milestone, the parish will be hosting three events this month.

The first will be a 175th Anniversary Dance to be held on Friday, Oct. 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost will be $20 per person and will include dinner and music by a DJ. Then, on Sunday, Oct. 15, a 175th Anniversary Mass with a reception following in the St. John Neumann Hall will take place, with the mass beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Lastly, a 175th Anniversary River Cruise on the Spirit of Philadelphia ship will conclude the celebration on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $55 per person, and all of these events, excluding the mass, can be purchased at the church’s rectory office.

Fr. Richard S. Bennett, C.Ss.R. encourages the community as a whole to come out to any or all of these events to join in and pledge support to the members of this active church. While he noted the parish typically celebrates its anniversaries every 25 years, 175 years is especially exciting.

“We have been a Catholic presence in the Northern Liberties community since 1842,” Bennett, who has been the pastor of the church for the past two years, said. “We try our best to serve the spiritual, emotional and sometimes the practical and physical needs of those who come through our doors.”

During his tenure serving the parish, Bennett added that some of his favorite moments have included participating in the World Meeting of Families, witnessing the Papal Visit, taking part in the parish pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., to celebrate 150 years of Pope Pius IX and giving the original icon to the Redemptorist fathers and brothers with the instruction to “Make her known.”

As for the parish itself, he noted that over these 175 years it has been a part of much of the history of Philadelphia. For example, according to Bennett, the parish remained even as The Redemptorist church and St. Michael’s Parish were burned to the ground during the late 19th century by Irish immigrants. Furthermore, the parish served as a satellite location for excess students in the early years of Roman Catholic High School and Hallahan Catholic High School as they suffered overcrowding.

During these years, St. Peter’s has also served as a social, educational, political and religious center. It was also a place where societies, such as the Scouts, CYO and St. Vincent de Paul orphanage were able to engage the community.

“The parish and school are very multicultural now, and we celebrate the blessings of that diversity every day,” Bennett said. “[We also] collaborate with other local Catholic schools, including St. Joseph’s Prep, Holy Angels Academy in New Jersey and the Catholic schools office for the archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

For more information on the parish, or with questions about its upcoming events, call (215) 627–2386, or email: stpetersoffice@comcast.net.