St. Laurentius Church at Memphis and East Berks Streets in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. (Photo by Sarah Webb)

St. Laurentius Church in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia is in imminent danger of collapse and will be closed immediately until further notice, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Friday, March 28.

The church has been used as a weekly worship site of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, with which St. Laurentius merged last year.

The building has been examined on multiple occasions over the past several months by an independent engineering firm, according to the archdiocese. An inspection conducted earlier this week led to a recommendation to close the site.

The archdiocese accepted the recommendation and closed the church out of concern for the safety of parishioners, students of the adjacent school and the surrounding community.


Independent engineers inspected the facade of the building last fall in compliance with Philadelphia’s Facade Ordinance Bill of 2010. The inspection revealed a number of maintenance issues including vertical cracks in the brownstone masonry, improperly completed cement patch repairs and deteriorated faces of brownstone.

Protective scaffolding and netting were installed around the church building in an effort to maintain the safety of parishioners and members of the community.

As a result of a follow-up inspection conducted this week, structural engineers have noted that the condition of the building has greatly deteriorated because of the harsh weather this winter and is in imminent danger of a collapse.

The future of the church building is still being considered, according to the archdiocese. All parish Masses will be celebrated at Holy Name of Jesus Church. The archdiocese indicated it will continue to work with parish leadership, engineering consultants and city officials to ensure the immediate safety of parishioners, students and the community.