Friday, December 05, 2014

Center City and Old City Philadelphia


Reading Terminal Market.


Went to a great job interview (prayers, please) and to Mass at St. John's afterwards. The churchmanship and practice say it all: old liberal friars with old woman-priest wannabe (she opened and closed the tabernacle) as the server. But the church is still the church and the Mass still the Mass: they have to use Pope Benedict's reformed translation, valid and at long last unequivocally orthodox. So pray I did.

St. John's has a lot of potential as a very city Catholic ministry: no more parish really, just a sacrament factory with daily confession (many confessionals in this crypt church — this was actually built assuming the old religion), open for many hours daily to serve commuters, beggars, and anyone else, including with a noon Mass. I think they have exposition and Benediction every day too. Would that a trad or conservative order ran it.

Ironically, I'm sure much of the gayborhood (home of Antiques Row) would rather get its spiritual and aesthetic uplift at the externally conservative Puginesque Gothic fantasy of St. Mark's Episcopal a few blocks west than from this mishmash of space-age streamlining (the impulse behind Vatican II) and tired hippie junk (uncool gays).


The Our Father. Charismatics: the other American Catholics who still go to Mass.


John Wanamaker's was bought out so this flagship store has gone by several names since 1995; it's now doing business as a Macy's (like Marshall Field's in Chicago). Founded by devout Presbyterians who took care of their workers. It used to be at least six floors. Didn't get to see if the restaurant/tea room are still upstairs but got to hear St. Clement's organist Peter Conte at his other gig, being the store's house organist. (The world's biggest pipe organ?)


One of liberal high church's two "cathedrals" in Center City, St. Mark's; the other being St. Clement's if you prefer Romanesque and our Mass (the Tridentine Mass) to straight-up anglophilia. This one has a few couples and families.

1 comment:

  1. The Wanamaker organ is the biggest playable, but the Atlantic City organ is bigger.

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