By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – As a boy, Marc Connelly made spending money mowing lawns for parishioners from his church, Christ the King, in Northeast Philadelphia.

Today, as owner and operator of MGC Landscaping, Connelly makes a living maintaining many commercial and residential grounds in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Christ the King Parish is now a client, as are many other Catholic churches, among them: St. Anselm, St. Bernard and Resurrection of Our Lord in Philadelphia and St. Ephrem in Bensalem, which is his parish. Connelly also tends the property at Immaculate Mary Home, an archdiocesan skilled nursing facility for senior citizens located in Northeast Philadelphia.

“We’re a full-service landscaping, lawn maintenance and tree care company,” Connelly said. The company also performs snow removal in the winter months.

“I started the business back in second grade, cutting some of the old ladies’ lawns around the corner from our house,” said Connelly, who is now 38. At that time, the going rate was “$3 or $4 a grass cut,” he said.

Connelly graduated from Christ the King School in 1983 and from Archbishop Ryan High School in 1987. He earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and agronomy from Pennsylvania State University in 1991.

“I enjoy being outside,” he said. “I don’t know if I could be jammed up in an office.”

And hot summer days do not hinder Connelly’s work. “It is what it is – you can’t control the weather.” Besides, he added with a laugh, “your kids still have to eat.”

A father of six, Connelly can also be found at home maintaining his yard and spending quality time with his wife Ellen and their children: Caitlyn, 11; Marc and Megan, 7-year-old twins; and John, Michael and Mary Ellen, 4-year-old triplets.

Whether working in the heat or cold, pleasant encounters with good people – many of whom are Catholic – are perks of the job, Connelly said.

He has his fellow Catholics in mind as he’s maintaining their church grounds. Just as the inside of a church is conducive to prayer, so should the outside be, he believes. “Everybody likes a clean curb appeal. If it’s pleasing to the eye, hopefully it will be pleasing to the mind.”

Connelly is the third of five children of Michael and the late Rita. His father works with him, as do his two younger brothers, Matthew and Brian.
He credits his upbringing at home, attending Mass regularly and his Catholic education for instilling in him solid work ethic essentials – honesty, integrity, discipline and respect for others.

“If you’re there to do a job for somebody, and you’re going to charge them money, you better do the most you can for them. If you do a fair and honest job for somebody, and you’re a fair and honest person, it will come back to you tenfold,” he said.

For more information, call MGC Landscaping at (215) 638-3311or visit the Web site,

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or