West Philadelphia Church Holds Its Final Mass

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The doors closed for good on Sunday at Our Lady of Angels Church in West Philadelphia.

The Archdiocese officially closed the parish five years ago, although the church remained in use as a worship site.

At the last Mass, it was standing room only. Theresa DiBattista says Our Lady of Angels was built when ethnic groups were separated by more than language.

“This church was built by the people because when the Italian immigrants came, the Irish immigrants wouldn’t let them worship at St. Gregory’s. They literally built this church themselves.”

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Since then, attitudes and technology have evolved. Mike Pagnottelli says the farewell mass was organized through that most social of media, Facebook.

“I was one of the ones who helped put this thing together, and I’m overwhelmed. It’s a lot more people than I ever expected. I can’t remember the last time I saw the church this crowded.”

Reported by Molly Daly, KYW Newsradio

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One Comment

  1. Daphni Daniels says:

    The work of the Lord must Go on!!!! May God bless you as you go, and may He bless thoses to come with souls the of men the way He bless the the church at Pentecost

    1. Daphni Daniels says:

      The Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached as a witness before the end comes. Congratulations on a job well done!!! May God bless you as you go!!!!! The work of the Lord must go on!!!! May God bless those to come with the souls of men the way He blessed the church on the Day of Pentecost

  2. Anthony DeFedericis says:

    Linda Dawson, In 1905 Italian Americans were forced to form a Ethnic Church because they were not allowed to worship in their nearby church because of bigotry. 106 years ago they planned a church where at least One of the parents had to be Italian. If the African American was married to an Italian, there would be NO problem. Over a hundred years ago they could not foresee the changes coming. Its sad that bigotry actually started the cycle.

    1. Roseann Forcino Ippoliti says:

      OMG! Anthony!!!! This is Roseann Forcino Ippoliti! I heard on the news that OLA church celebrated it’s last mass. I was soooo pleasantly surprised to see your name!. We so looked forward to attending grade school in that beloved school as children. I often think about you!

      1. Anthony DeFedericis says:

        Roseann, So nice to hear from you. It’s been ages since I saw you. Hope everything is allright with you. My e-mail address is
        bythegulf236@verizon.net Take Care

  3. Anthony DeFedericis says:

    OLA Church was build because the Irish immigrants would not let them worship at St. Gregory’s. OLA Church became the Center of their lives. So many people married, raised their families in a very closed-knit atmospher. The Center of “49th Street” had so many happy memories for the people who left Italy to come to America. OLA helped them to adjust to their new life. So many happy memories for so many people. Tony 1312

  4. Terry says:

    I truly believe that there will come a time when we will all pay for allowing God and religion to be pushed from our lives.

  5. Linda Dawson says:

    I grew up on Merion Avenue which is around the corner from Our Lady Of Angels;
    I remember that this beautiful church wouldn’t allow African Americans into their church nor school.
    Even so, I am sadden to hear that it has closed for good. I still have fond memories of the annual fair that the church sponsored every year and the many Italian stores that flourished up and down Lancaster Avenue, Thompson St., Master St, and more.
    What a shame that the church wasn’t more inclusive…, maybe just maybe Our Lady Of Angels would have celebrated another One hundred years. GOD bless !

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