Mailbag 36: St. Bonaventure Restoration

It's been a little while, so why not see what's lurking in the 'ole mailbag?

From Project reader Wallace Richardson:

I saw an article in our paper on Saturday about the Catholic church and their "white elephants".  St. Bonaventure was shown as one which was sold and is now in desperate need of help. 

Somehow, "black sheep" strikes me as a more appropriate animal reference, but sure. If you're referring to the Inquirer piece, we did link to that on our Facebook page.

The article stated that the church was built by German Immagrints(sp.). 

That's correct. For more, see our entry on St. Bonaventure.

My thought all weekend and today has been about this once georgeous building.  I can't seem to get it out of my head. 

Welcome to my world, buddy. I've got churches on the brain. It's amazing I manage to get anything done.

Have you thought about asking the German beer breweries is there are any left to help with the restoration.  What an incredible amount of publicity they would get and also perhaps that one little step would begin to change this Hell Hole. 

There are very few actual breweries within city limits, and to my knowledge none of them are German. That would have been a great plan back in the Philly-as-the-Workshop-of-the-World-days. Now, not so much. I like the innovative thinking, though.

Miracles happen all the time.  Just an idea.  I will pray to St. Anthony for some help. 

I suspect that St. Jude is a much better guess.

The problem is that fixing up Bonaventure is one thing; but with Fairhill the way it is, what's the point? What purpose does a pristine shell of a church serve in that neighborhood?

The churches that get reused are the ones in vibrant areas or areas on the rise. Areas with demand. Like, say, Powelton Village, where the former St. Agatha was turned into apartments. Or Southwest Center City, where the same is about the happen to the former St. Anthony of Padua. Or, say, Callowhill, which is trying desperately to do something, anything with Assumption BVM.

Fairhill? Not so much.

For what it's worth, Historic Fair Hill and Partners for Sacred Places have had some discussions on the future of the place. I'd love to see it get done. But while while the slow crawl of gentrification is making its way up North Broad, it's a long way from 9th & Cambria. And until it does, you're not going to see much traction on this place.

(Even then, that's no guarantee. Again, see Assumption BVM.)

If I had the money I would give it to you without a moments hesitation. 

I'll happily take your money. Should you suddenly come into some, please remember me.

Thank you for letting me vent.  God Bless and give you success.

Don't thank me, thank my email server.