Old St. Mary’s Parish in Philadelphia concluded its 250th anniversary by welcoming Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who along with Msgr. Paul A. DiGirolamo, pastor, celebrated Mass at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 26 at the church located at 252 South 4th Street in Philadelphia.  (Photos by Sarah Webb)

Following Mass a procession led by the Philadelphia Emerald League Pipe Band and the University of Pennsylvania Naval ROTC Honor Guard walked from the front of the church to the Commodore John Barry plaque and continue to the grave site of Commodore Barry behind the church, where a wreath was laid.  Organizations represented at the celebration included the Irish Societies from the Commodore Barry Club of Philadelphia, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn, the American Catholic Historical Society and the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.

(Read more about the parish’s long, distinguished history.)

The church was the first cathedral for the Diocese of Philadelphia from 1810 to 1838. Many prominent Philadelphians worshiped and are buried at Old St. Mary’s including:  Commodore John Barry, a hero of the American Revolution and the father of the American Navy; Thomas Fitzsimons, a signer of the Constitution, member of the Continental Congress and a founding member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick; General Stephen Moylan, George Washington’s aide-de-camp and the founding president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick; Mathew Carey, one of early America’s most important publishers of works including the first American version of the Douay-Rheims Bible; George Meade, prominent merchant and great-grandfather of General George Gordon Meade of Civil War fame; and Michael Bouvier, great-great-grandfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.