By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – The Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul has raised more than $625,000 to date in the archdiocesan capital and endowment campaign, exceeding its parish goal of $550,000.
“We are ecstatic,” said Msgr. Michael T. McCulken, the Cathedral rector.
“This amount reflects the extreme generosity of our parishioners who obviously take great pride not only in their Catholic faith and a commitment to the mission of Jesus, but in the preservation of this beautiful basilica.”
The Cathedral, at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, dates back to 1846. It was completed in 1864.
There are currently 700 registered households, or 1,262 registered parishioners, on the Cathedral roster, according to the rector. That includes families who attend La Milagrosa, the Cathedral’s Spanish chapel at 1903 Spring Garden St.
The rector applauded his “hardworking, dedicated, enthusiastic” volunteer committee members who helped build up the Cathedral community as they invited parishioners to participate in the campaign.
He and his committee reached out to parishioners in person, through in-pew commitment cards, a phone-a-thon and small group receptions.
The basilica is more than 160 years old. The adjoining Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is more than 50 years old, according the the rector.
Although the Cathedral has received regular maintenance through the years, the last major renovations occurred 50 years ago.
“The Cathedral is a unique church in the Archdiocese,” the rector said. The Church of the Archbishop, his cathedra, or chair, is there. As the mother church of the Archdiocese, the Cathedral is also the church of every Catholic in the Archdiocese.
The Church of Philadelphia is conducting a capital and endowment campaign with a $200 million goal to support the charitable, educational and pastoral needs of the Archdiocese as it begins its third century as a diocese. As of press time, $56,754,686 toward the $200 million goal had been raised in gifts and pledges through parish campaigns and leadership gifts.
Of that goal, $25 million is earmarked to help restore and renew the Cathedral – $20 million for immediate renovations and $5 million for a preservation fund.
Ninety percent of the renovations to the Cathedral’s Chapel of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and several significant interior renovations in the Cathedral have been completed through the contributions of an anonymous donor, the rector said.
However, the need for additional renovations to the adjoining chapel and the Cathedral remain, he said.
Those renovations include: repairs, restoration, replacement, repointing and cleaning of exterior brownstone, brick and granite; ongoing repairs to the roof and interior wooden joists; upgrades to the electrical, lighting, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and plumbing systems; new audio systems and video screens; plaster repairs and painting of the basilica; and restoration of the cathedral pews, marble floor, cathedral organ and chapel organ.
The parish’s campaign case statement also includes the replacement of windows for La Milagrosa and funds for Catholic school tuition for needy parishioners.
The rector acknowledged Catholics of the mid-to-late-19th century for their vision, leadership and sacrifices in building the Cathedral, and the successive generations of Catholics who have continued to contribute to the beauty and maintenance of the edifice.
“Now, we have the opportunity to help restore, maintain and preserve this historic basilica for future generations so this church, which is so special and meaningful to all of us in the Archdiocese, is able to continue to inspire countless numbers of Catholics and non-Catholics in the years ahead,” he said.
Since visitors contribute approximately 60 percent of the collection taken up at weekend Masses, according to Msgr. McCulken, the Cathedral has made a special campaign appeal to them.
“We are the hosts and hostesses to the world,” Msgr. McCulken said. “We welcome visitors, tourists, guests – every day, especially every weekend – to this beautiful, historic and inspiring church. We do so from our faith and belief in Jesus Christ and His Gospel and in our desire to be of service to Christ and the Gospel in helping to provide a beautiful celebration of Mass and the sacraments.
“We open the doors of the basilica to everyone.”
For more information about the Cathedral, visit the web site www.sspeterpaulcathedral.catholicweb.com or call (215) 561-1313. For more information about the capital campaign, call (610)896-7312 or visit the web site heritageoffaithvisionhope.com.
CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103