The Never-Ending Visitation


Project reader Pasquale Ciocco reminds us that we haven't heard the last of Visitation BVM: 

I found your website and review of my old parish while surfing the web. I went to Visitation school and graduated back in 1979. My interest in the old parish was sparked when I heard from some old classmates on Facebook. My current parish is Our Lady of Calvary and although it is a nice parish, I always feel like it's not big enough to be a church. Growing up I served as a alter boy and there was nothing like hearing that booming church organ while you walked in procession or the choir that would sing when we would have Cardinal Krol perform a Confrimation or First Communion service.

My two older sisters and I were also in the choir (which actually released an album back in the 70s) and the choir loft is large enough to hold at least 30 choir members without a problem with benches to sit on. I also remember the night Nixon signed the peace treaty and we heard the church bells ringing for about an hour. Mind you these bells were not automated like most parishes today, but rather the alter boys or priest would have to pull the ropes to ring them, just thinking about it still makes my arms sore.  

After seeing your pictures, I can honestly say that it has not changed much and albeit from the languages I would probably attend a few masses there still. One thing that I did notice is the use of a lot of blue trim throughout the church. I know that they did repaint most of the upper church when I was a kid. But the blue accents were not always that bright and some of the accent lines I think were not even blue. Also, again I'm almost 100% positive that the stations of the cross were not blue at the bottom but rather a reddish brown, so I'm thinking that they were painted as well the same color blue to match the accents. The church was actually in much need of repairs when I went there and I remember them starting to work on painting the celings which were badly peeling. The one thing that hasn't changed are the windows and the murals.

As an FYI, the lower church is also very nice. They actually have a war memorial in the lower church with statues of soldiers (I think a sailor and an army man) praying to Mary with a plaque listing all of the parish boys whos served in the wars (at least they did when I was a kid).  

As for your Rocky story I can confirm that he actually did film outside of Visitation and used kids from Viso to run with him during the shooting of Rocky II over the Silver bridge, which is about a block north on B street and not Silver anymore. Also, Rocky carries Adrian up Kensington Ave above Lehigh during that movie and his house was always the last house on the first little street above Kensignton and Lehigh, which I believe is Tusculum St. But I guess I digressed a little too much about Rocky, but one final thing is that when you experience mass in a parish like this growing up, you really find it hard to image celebrating mass in smaller churches. This place is a work of art and I wish that I could have packed it with me when I left the old neighborhood.  

Some good memories in there. Of interest to the Project is the revelation that Visitation's decor is not, as I once praised it, original. Like I wrote not too long ago, you never know. Frankly, when it comes to paint and plaster interiors, it's just easier to assume that it's not original. Even in ideal conditions paint needs to be touched up every so often, and many of these parishes wouldn't know ideal conditions if they tripped over them.

Oh, and yes: Rocky was from Kensington. Glad someone else agrees.