St. Timothy

Status: Active, Roman Catholic

Founded: 1928
Construction: 1949

Levick & Battersby Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19149

Visit its website

Original visit: March 16, 2007

Where Is It?

Levick & Battersby Streets, in the beautiful oasis of Mayfair.

The Skinny

St. Timothy is the latest in a long line of Tweener Churches that are old enough to be fairly large and traditional, but new enough not to be particularly ornate. That’s certainly the case here. There’s nothing fancy outside, save for a rather large tower which, to be honest, isn't even that fancy.

Inside, the church isn’t quite what you’d expect. It's the first non-cruciform church we've seen, meaning that the church is shaped like a standard rectangle — as opposed to being shaped like a giant cross, with a transept intercepting the nave right in front of the sanctuary. Elsewhere, the ceiling is capped pretty low, which isn't particularly appealing. Also, it’s done in a weird combination of tiles that bears a remarkable resemblance to a school cafeteria, gymnasium or locker room. Or maybe one of the old-school buildings at the Philadelphia Zoo. Either way, I’m not a fan.

However, I should note that the church does boast large (and pretty) stained glass windows, with each one featuring a different saint. They’re really the highlight here.

Listen for it: The ye-olde-English inspired responsorial psalm, which was so good it had me grooving in my seat. No joke.

How's It Doing?

What I said for neighbor Martin of Tours also applies here, although to a lesser degree. St. Tim's is smaller but it's also farther north, so it's more homogeneous and far less tumultuous. The parish might face the same uncertain future, but it depends on how far the changes in lower Northeast Philly extend into Mayfair.

Travel Tidbits

If you can stomach some crazy drivers and wacky one-way streets, particularly Levick, you’ll be fine. The church even has a lot!

Slightly Funny Note

One of the priests (I didn’t catch his name) was kind enough to let me onto the balcony to take pictures, although he felt it necessary to take potshots one of my alma maters for not being a Catholic school. (Like I really give a damn.) What’s funny is that he said, in all serious, that “St. Tim’s is the nicest church in the Northeast.”

Sorry padre, it’s Martin of Tours, and it's not even close.

The Final Word

Solid, but unspectacular.