In many of Philadelphia's ethnic neighborhoods, the Catholic church has served not only as a place of worship - the institution helped keep alive ancestral traditions and connections among newly-arrived immigrants to the United States. In the spirit of the World Meeting of Families, HSP explores this legacy through a holiday Catholic church fair. This holiday season we invite you to share the story of your church and the role it has played in your community.
- Share your stories through holiday traditions, food, photographs, music, and more!
- Connect with other Catholics in Philadelphia and learn of their unique community histories and traditions!
- Bring your family along to craft ornaments and decorate the Historical Society Christmas tree!
Featured Speakers and Choirs:
- Deck the (Parish) Halls: Philly Catholics at Christmas
How do Catholics celebrate Christmas? Joyously – but in wonderfully diverse ways. Thomas Rzeznik will highlight some of the many cherished Christmas traditions that have contributed to the richness of Catholic parish life and discuss how holiday celebrations have developed and changed over time.
- What About the Other 364 Days: The Work of Nuns in Philadelphia Parishes
"What parish are you from?" is a question with which Catholic Philadelphians are very familiar. A parish, however, is more than a building or a neighborhood; the people make the parish. And the sisters who staffed the parish school or administered the nearby hospital were often the face of Catholicism for many Philadelphians, Catholic and non-Catholic. Tonight, Margaret McGuinness, Professor of Religion at La Salle University, will examine some stories of how nuns shaped Catholic life in Philadelphia, as well as the role they play today in our city.
- Musical performances by church choirs, including the Accolade Chamber Choir.
A complete schedule of the day is available here.
While this event is free, registration is required. Space is limited so register today!
Represent your Church!
Participating churches will have their own table to distribute special holiday foods, display photographs, distribute information, play music, and more! This is a free public program for attendees and participating churches.
We are still looking for more churches to participate! For more information or to register your church, please contact Christopher Damiani at email@example.com or 215-732-6200 ext. 227.
Thomas Rzeznik is an associate professor of history at Seton Hall University. He currently serves as the vice-president of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, and co-edits its quarterly journal, American Catholic Studies.
Maggie McGuinness is a Professor of Religion at La Salle University, Philadelphia. Prior to joining the La Salle faculty in 2006, she taught at Cabrini College in Radnor for twenty years. She is the author of Called to Serve: A History of Nuns in America (2014 winner of Catholic Book Award in History by the Catholic Press Association), and Neighbors and Missionaries: A History of the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine. In addition, she co-edited A Catholic Studies Reader with James T. Fisher. She is currently in the early stages of writing a biography of Mother Katharine Drexel.