On 25th Novembre, Saint John the Baptist Church launched an online Rally campaign to help reach a critical $1 million fundraising goal for the restoration and preservation of the church -- an architectural, historical, and community icon in Philadelphia.
The online campaign, found at www.rally.org/SJBFriends, will run until December 31, 2015 and funds raised will fuel much-needed exterior repairs, which are currently in progress with an expected completion of Spring 2016.
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Designed by renowned architect Patrick Keely the current church building opened on April 1, 1894. Saint John the Baptist is the only operational Keely church in Philadelphia and one of the few examples of this particular extraordinary Keely design still standing in the United States. The Gothic church features brilliant stained glass windows, towering gilded pillars, complex and beautiful ornamentation, sweeping colorful paintings, elaborate and detailed carvings, a 3.5 ton clock tower bell, a magnificent, century-old pipe organ and intricate sculptures by renowned sculptor Joseph Sibbel.
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The tenth oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Saint John the Baptist is an icon in the City of Brotherly Love. The church’s majestic belltower can be seen for miles all over the region. Façade inspections confirmed that restoration is essential for Saint John the Baptist to maintain its structural integrity and beauty. Support is needed to: 1) repair the steeple (including the clock, belfry, lantern, spire, and cross); 2) repair the north transept and façade buttresses; and 3) repair the roof, flashing, and water runoff systems.
The history of the church dates back to 1829, when Jerome and Eulalia Keating opened their Manayunk home for a Catholic Mass. The Keatings hosted weekly Sunday school classes for neighborhood children and ministered to the community. As this ministry expanded, the Keatings proposed the formation of a formal parish and made a financial commitment by donating land for a church and adjoining cemetery. St. John’s was officially made a parish in 1831 and continued to grow. After 60 years, construction of the current church began – made possible through the generosity of parishioners Bernard and Cecilia McCane who donated more than $250,000.
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In 2012 Saint John the Baptist Church was merged with Saint Josaphat and Saint Mary of the Assumption Parishes. Strengthened by the spiritual legacy of these two communities, Saint John the Baptist is rooted in a rich history of providing spiritual leadership, education, and worship in the Manayunk, Roxborough, and Wissahickon areas of Philadelphia. Philadelphia would be forever altered by the absence of this church. A multiethnic Roman Catholic parish, Saint John’s has maintained a reputation as a magnet for the citizenry of Philadelphia for centuries, serving as a hallowed place not only to celebrate births, weddings, and major milestones, but also to comfort those dealing with death, despair, and worry. Saint John’s has provided faith formation for thousands of people.
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The capital campaign aims to preserve the past and share with future generations the invaluable Catholic, cultural, architectural and historic heritage that Saint John the Baptist brings to Manayunk/Roxborough/Wissahickon and all of Philadelphia. As such, Saint John the Baptist offers all the opportunity to actively take part in the restoration of this unique monument and Philadelphia icon. The Restore Saint John the Baptist crowdfunding campaign can be found on Rally.org or by clicking here: https://rally.org/SJBFriends
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Donating on Rally.org to Restore Saint John the Baptist is simple, using a PayPal account or a debit/credit card. Every donation is welcome and appreciated.