Lt. Guv, Councilman and Senator Honor St. John’s
Philadelphia – The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission honored St. John the Evangelist Church with a historical marker, Sunday, recognizing the church that has served Center City workers and families for 185 years.
Councilman Mark Squilla, State Senator Larry Farnese, Lt. Governor Mike Stack and (retired) Judge Felice R. Stack -mother of the Lt. Governor- joined the Historical Commission’s Celeste Morello in paying tribute to a church tucked away between 13th and Market and Chestnut Sts., that served as the Catholic Cathedral of Pennsylvania, Camden County and Delaware from 1838 to 1864.
Pennsylvania Sen. Farnese smiled recalling that as he exited his family home for Sunday’s ceremony, his mother quipped, “So you’re going to mass this morning?”
Both Councilman Squilla and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack stressed the historical perspective of the church, noting that it had survived “anti-Catholic riots” of the 1840s which left 14 dead, more than fifty injured and caused up to $3.8 million in property damage. During the ensuing years it has continued to be a place of “compassion” that consistently “opened its doors” to immigrants, the poor and even those suffering through an influenza epidemic.
Within its vaulting arches, ornate stained-glass windows St. John’s was accentuated by the frescoes of artist Nicola Monachesi in 1832. In 1834 the then-Cathedral served as the venue for the American premier of Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor.
Damaged by fire in 1899, the church was rebuilt in 1902.