Warmer weather makes many among us want to enjoy the great outdoors, but Dennis Postiglione is hoping summer’s arrival will inspire more individuals to indulge in or find their love for bowling. The general manager at St. Monica Lanes has been enhancing the destination that has kept South Philadelphians seeking strikes and spares since 1962.

“It’s really all about giving people more options, especially families and neighborhood kids,” the parishioner at St. Monica, whose senior school’s basement contains the 12-lane alley, said recently. “I just want to rejuvenate it and make it stand out.”

Since assuming his duties in August 2023, Postiglione has had the blessing of  Father Joseph J. Kelley, St. Monica’s pastor, to enhance what, prior to the pandemic, had traditionally been a popular destination for competitive and leisurely bowlers alike.

The site’s location also makes for a nice touch of novelty, with the initial days of operation fostering an “among-us” kinship, according to  Father Kelley.

“Time at the lanes was a unifying experience,” Father Kelley said. “The space still has that community feel, but it’s really a spot for anyone to have a good time.”

Msgr. Farrell rolls the first ball at the opening of the new bowling lanes in 1962. (St. Monica Parish)

As he spoke to CatholicPhilly, the spiritual leader for South Philly’s largest parish, now in his 21st year there, looked at a parish anniversary celebration book that included league images and a image of longtime pastor Monsignor Aloysius F.X. Farrell testing his skills at the Sept. 23, 1962 opening of the lanes. The lanes were the effort of Monsignor Farrell who wanted to create a welcoming space for the parish and broader community.

Expanding upon his point about the inclusivity of the attraction at 16th and Shunk Street, Father Kelley mentioned that seminarians from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary have been making regular trips there to build camaraderie and enjoy the nostalgic fun of bowling.  Everyone who picks up a ball is contributing to the “vibrant setting” now in its sixth decade, he says.

“I have that [same] thinking, too,” Postiglione said of crafting an even more alluring all-are-welcome identity for the alley, whose lanes contain banners of memorable games and series that local bowlers have orchestrated.

Building upon the lanes current offerings, Postiglione has taken numerous steps, including the addition and imminent installation of the following: a golf simulator, a jukebox, video games, and a playroom.

Movie and sports posters provide Philly flavor, too, and Postiglione has supplemental goals, including redoing the floors by next month and completing other adjustments by September.

Later in the summer, he aspires to be open full-time. For now, those who wish to use St. Monica Lanes must contact him via phone to slip on their bowling shoes and have a tremendous time.

“I’m very hopeful to build upon the reputation that we have here,” Postiglione, said of what the last 62 years have yielded. He’s wishful that parties and neighborhood leagues will begin to highlight the schedule adding to the memories built up over the decades.

“For example, to my knowledge, we’ve never been open here full-time in the summer,” he added “That’s an attainable goal that I’d love to hit.”

For more information, call 215-465-1645 or visit St. Monica Lanes on Facebook and Instagram.

The 12-lane alley is located in the basement of St. Monica’s senior school.