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Historic Society Hill Church Prepares to Mark Its 250th Anniversary

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(Old St. Mary's Church, in Society Hill.  Credit: Michelle Durham)

(Old St. Mary’s Church, in Society Hill. Credit: Michelle Durham)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Old St. Mary’s Church, on 4th Street near Locust, is the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s first cathedral.  And this year it’s celebrating its 250th anniversary.

Many prominent Americans — from members of the Continental Congress to, on occasion, George Washington — have walked through the doors to worship there.

The church’s pastor, Msgr. Paul DiGirolamo, says he is looking forward to Sunday’s 11:00am mass with Archbishop Chaput to commemorate the occasion.  And he says it’s inspiring “to know that the faith has been celebrated on that spot for 250 years, and to celebrate some of the wonderful people who came to Philadelphia that became part of the fabric of our world and our society and our faith.”

Listen to the full interview with Pastor DiGirolamo (runs 5:22)…

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(Barbara Vitullo.  Photo by Michelle Durham)

(Barbara Vitullo. Photo by Michelle Durham)

Barbara Vitullo (right), who has lived in the area for more than 40 years and converted to Catholicism in 1983 so she could join her husband at mass, is undeniably proud of her church.

“To be in existence and to welcome people for all of these 250 years is really quite an accomplishment,” she says.

Both Vitullo and Msgr. DiGirolamo say the parish still draws people from the neighborhood, visitors to Philadelphia, and folks of all ages who want to celebrate their faith in a place where those who fought for our freedom returned to celebrate theirs.

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