A stunning landmark at 5th Street & Girard Avenue, St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church is one of Philadelphia’s oldest parishes. It was originally established in 1842 to serve the influx of German immigrants, about 1/3 of whom were Catholic.
As St. Peter’s grew, it staffed German-speaking priests, offered German-language religious services, and served as a social center for local German Catholics, many of them employed in the breweries, factories, and machine shops within the flourishing neighborhood. At the turn of the century, the church boasted 7,500 parishioners, the majority of them German-speaking.
Today, St. Peter’s serves an ethnically diverse congregation that reflects the demographics of its neighborhood. The main sanctuary is a stunning tribute to its original German craftsmanship, reminding today’s parishioners of St. Peter’s roots.
Photos and history c/o philaplace.org.