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Holy Name of Jesus

Status: Active, Roman Catholic 

Founded: 1905

E. Berks & Gaul Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Visit its website

Original visit: July 29, 2007

 

Where Is It?

E. Berks & Gaul Street, in FISHTOWN!

 

The Skinny

The Project trolls the vast waters of the River Wards, setting a course for venerable Fishtown, an area only a few leagues from Center City.

What? Alright, fine, I’ll stop it with the nautical terms.

Silliness aside, Holy Name is remarkable for the huge Gothic dome where the nave meets the transcept. That's not an uncommon design feature (you can see the same in St. Bridget, for example), but what's odd here is just how much it dominates the rest of the design. Really, it’s so prominent, it feels like they built the dome and then, as an afterthought, decided to build a church around it.

Inside, we get a columned, cruciform Gothic design and some lovely, if not particularly large, stained glass windows. We also get, sadly, another blasted Pimp My Church design, thanks to removed seating and an extended sanctuary. Why do this? The place was plenty beautiful before, as you can see from photos from Holy Name's own website:

And now:

Really? Come on.

I mean, sure, the paintwork? Yeah, Tabula Rasa. Got it. And some of the current features, like the "night sky" effect under the dome? Not bad. 

But painting over the stone and making unnecessary structural renovations? Bad move. You should have dropped anchor on those changes from the get-go.

 

How's It Doing?

Fishtown earns a lot of raves these days for being the trendy neighborhood in the city, and there's no doubt the proximity to over-gentrified Northern Liberties helped it — as did a steely populace that never cut and ran and helped keep things from going too far over the line.

Despite seemingly losing the Fishtown battle over the past several years to St. Laurentius, the Archdiocese closed Laurentius in 2013 and put Holy Name in charge of the neighborhood. A curious decision, to say the least, but good news for fans of this parish.

 

Travel Tidbits

Much like Adalbert — heck, all of the River Wards, really — access is incredibly easy from I-95. Unless you live nowehere near I-95, in which case, Godspeed.

Like any gentifying neighborhood, the place can still have its share of shenanigans and shadyness, but nothing that prevents you from coming here.

 

Interesting Note

This church has no intention candles of any kind. That’s very strange.

 

Image Gallery

 

The Final Word

A fairly minor catch in the Project's world. (Get it? Catch? Fish? Oh, never mind.)