Mother of Divine Grace
Status: Active, Roman Catholic
Also Known As: MDG
E. Thompson & E. Cambria Street
Philadelphia, PA 19134
Original visit: October 20, 2007
Where Is It?
E. Cambria & E. Thompson Streets, in Port Richmond
The Project returns to some familiar haunts — Port Richmond, home of one of our favorites, Church Alley. But we’re actually not going to the Alley itself, but rather, a few blocks south. There we find the Italian Mother of Divine Grace.
I wish I had gone back to Church Alley, because MDG is an architectural disaster. And I have no one to blame but myself.
I thought I could find something here. Sure, the 1926 founding date is a little too late for my tastes, and the aerial images showed a church that was a little on the smaller side. But remember, St. Athanasius was founded two years later and wasn’t particularly impressive from the outside, and that one turned out to be one of our better finds. I’d hoped the same would happen here.
Instead, I got exactly what I feared: a smallish, late-model church that fails to impress on any front. It certainly doesn’t have the size we’ve come to expect, and there is absolutely no ornamentation of any kind. Zero. Zilch.
If you like this place, then Godspeed. Me? I'll pass.
How's It Doing?
I’m not inclined to care how this parish does, but I’ll suck it up and be a professional. Their attendance is low (300s), but they have a small church, so it’s perfect! Ba-dum ching!
Fine, fine. I'll be good. In a all seriousness, that's not going to be good enough, long-term, especially with Church Alley looming right around the corner.
Like Church Alley, MDG is easily accessibly via I-95. It’s a little further south, though, so you’ll need to exit at Allegheny and careen wildly through a couple of crazy one-way streets. Getting there isn’t difficult; it’s a shame there’s not much to see once you do.
As I noted here, Port Richmond is a strong working-class environment. No need to fear.
Mailbag 29: Church Alley Update / November 16, 2011
The Final Word
Do I really need to say any more?