Our Lady of Hope(less)?

Monday blues? Let the Project help.

From the mailbag:

Thank you for taking on this project. I grew up in Logan and this was my parish. It was a great place! Monsignor Charles B. McGinley was the second pastor, I think and he was there for quite a long time. He was a very kind man, as I remember and would sometimes give us a ride to school as he was coming home from a sick call. He is pictured in the last photo with Father Carroll.

We had many fine priests and Sisters of St. Joseph there. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen would come in Advent every year to give the Christmas novena, and sometimes came for the Three Hours Agony service in Holy Week. He was a good friend of the pastor.

There were always crowds at all the Masses. There were Masses in the chapel, now an Hispanic Day Care Center, going on at the same time. It is sad to see how damaged the church is . In the '80's the parish held a reunion that the pastor at that time was hestitant to have. But with some coaxing, he agreed to have the Reunion Committee try--over 2400 people attended a beautiful liturgy that was attended by the former and present parishioners. The collection was quite generous! Then all attended a dinner at Cardinal Dougherty High School and it was a grand affair. Various parts of the cafeteria were set aside to meet up with your 8th grade friends.

The case of Holy Child / Our Lady of Hope is indeed a sad one, and a personal one, too, since the Project's grandparents were married in the parish back in 1954.

I don't go out of my way to criticize the Archdiocese, but it's examples like this that make it far too easy. History tells me that the Oblates did a tremendous job of stabilizing the troubled parish in the 1980s, making big strides in turning it around despite a declining neighborhood. They then returned control to the Archdiocese, who promptly closed and renamed it. Their stewardship since then has been, to put it mildly, less than inspiring.

Logan stands a good chance of turning around in the coming years as North Philadelphia continues to gentrify and remake itself. It would be rewarding to see OLH benefit from that--assuming, of course, that it's still around. Given the indifference the Archdiocese usually shows urban parishes these days, that's far from a certainty.

Hope for everything, expect nothing.

P.S. If OLH has any hope (pun intended), it'll have to come from the alumni. Why not another reunion? The parish phone number is 215.329.8100. If any other ex-parishioners are reading, give them a call and get the ball rolling.