And now for something new: MBS

As in Most Blessed Sacrament. You know, the parish I've gotten more emails on than just about any other. Haven't heard from them in a while, so how about a special return engagement from the parish that won't die?

Former parishioner Thomas Kildea writes in with some reminiscences and some questions as well.

PCP:

I attended Most Blessed Sacrament Grade School during the late 1960's and early 1970's. I was saddened to hear that the Parish has been consolidated into St Frances deSales. The history of MBS and its students along with the enrollment rankings at its peak recently sparked some discussion among friends. My memories would suggest that MBS's student population reached its apex during the late 1960's when an annex was built to handle an anticipated overflow.

Sadly, I remember, the Kingsessing neighborhood along with new student enrollments began their swift decline shortly thereafter. Was MBS ever the largest parochial elementary school in Philadelphia? Where did it stand in national rankings? Who were some of its more famous and infamous attendees? Are any of the Clergy or Sisters still active in the Church. Sisters Conchita(?) and Thomasina plus Father Kelly come to mind as memorable influences during my childhood.

Sometimes I cry when recalling how swiftly things changed in the vibrant neighborhoods surrounding the seemingly monumental fortress towering above 56th St.& Chester Ave. Fond recollections of MBS and my attendance from grades one through seven are forever etched into my daily thoughts.

Any help with my requests will be appreciated.

You and a lot of people, Thomas. It never stops being sad, even more so considering the ease with which such things can swept aside by the time and tide of progress.

As to your questions, I can tell you that MBS was once the largest parochial school in the world. As to famous / infamous attendees and specific staff, I'll let the readership field this one.

If anyone knows, feel free to chime in.