Old St. Joseph's Church

Old St. Joseph's Church, Philadelphia

Old St. Joseph's Church
4.5
About
A colonial-style church that deliberately took on an unassuming look in order to avoid attracting anti-Catholic sentiments.
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: City Center East
How to get there
  • 2nd St • 6 min walk
  • 5th St • 6 min walk

4.5
14 reviews
Excellent
6
Very good
6
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
0

jer b
Bristol, CT1,855 contributions
Aug 2018 • Couples
The church gate was closed on a midweek day, so we admired the church from afar. Old St. Joseph Church is the oldest Catholic church in Philadelphia and was established in 1733. A sign outside the church provides this information. It is an active parish with masses on the weekend and daily. It appeared to be a building constructed of brick. It is difficult to see from the street and entrance is through a narrow archway with wrought iron gates. No parking lot. The church has a very interesting history as Catholics were the victims of religious bigotry and discrimination by Protestants of the Colonial period. On one occasion, Quakers patrolled the church to prevent a Protestant mob from stopping a mass. As a Catholic, I found the visit very meaningful and would return to attend mass if I could arrange it.
Written August 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ElaineAndGreg
Chesterland, OH2,602 contributions
Mar 2018 • Solo
As others have noted. Old St. Joseph's Church is the oldest Catholic Church in Philadelphia (only one signer of the declaration, Stephen Carroll, was Catholic). The church is close by many other revolution-era sites, although it is a little younger.

The church itself is not ornate, but is still quite striking. If you just want to visit, you should find it to be an attractive church, but not spectacular as you might find the Peter & Paul Basilica about 15 minutes away.

I attended mass here on a Sunday while visiting Philadelphia. Although the church was small by some standards, the parish of all ages was engaged, as was the pastor, for a very lovely service. If I were staying on town on a weekend again I would go out of my way to come here.

If you are just visiting, this is worth the few minutes it would take to walk around. If you are Catholic and also looking to attend a service, you should find this an excellent choice as well.
Written March 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

toddayo
philadelphia369 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
My daughter got married at the church in early September. This is an amazing institution with an ideal location. The beauty and architecture of the church played a big role in the success of the day. One of the nicest churches in Philadelphia.
Written October 2, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

pjmdvm
Atlanta, GA1,821 contributions
Aug 2017 • Family
Attended a wedding here August 2017. Amazing location close to Independence Hall. Some information about the church, including a copy of a letter from George Washington, is posted on the back wall. Charming, modest, church with rich historical significance for Philadelphia.
Written August 23, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Patricia C
Bellefonte90 contributions
Jan 2017
This is a beautiful small church in the middle of the historic part of the city. It is the first catholic church in Philadelphia. Mass is celebrated there with many convenient times on the weekend. It is small but you definitely feel like you are part of the service. It can be hard to find at first, and you might go right by it, if you aren't sure where to go. It is in an alley and you have to go through a small courtyard in between some buildings. Check it out on a map first. It's definitely worth it to visit or attend mass.

Parking is difficult as there is no lot and it's in the old part of the city. You can park on the street but you may have to drive around a bit to find a spot. For mass, I recommend that you go early to get a parking spot on a street close to the church. You can even download a sign, from the church website, to put in your car window that says you are attending mass there.
Written January 30, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

HStuart224
San Antonio, TX56 contributions
Jun 2016 • Couples
Beautiful must-see church for everyone and especially Catholics interested in seeing such an important piece of history first hand! Loved it.
Written June 19, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

stism
Grenoble, France1,354 contributions
Apr 2016
at the heart of a historic district, it one of the oldest church in the US which is still in operation. Very well maintained, it is typical of the jesuit style.
Written April 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MrSaturn64
Philadelphia, PA349 contributions
Mar 2016 • Solo
This colonial church, like most churches from that era, is very simplistic in design. This one, however, has a mural on the ceiling, a large organ, and a fine painting behind the altar. The stained glass is also quite nice. There are multiple entrances, and it's quite small, but still worth the trip. Feel free to go in if there's no one there.
Written March 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jerry_Bagnell
Carolina Beach, NC354 contributions
Dec 2015 • Couples
Not as ostentatious as a cathedral or basilica but an example of a small place of worship that has been well maintained. Enter on the alley sign despite what the signage tell you to do.
Written December 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sonomandad
Tulsa, OK173 contributions
Apr 2015 • Solo
Come see how the pastor of this colonial church helped establish the founding principle of Religious Freedom for America. I did not realize the historic significance of this church. The docent guides in the church were a wealth of knowledge and passionate about the history connected to Old St. Joseph Church.
Written October 15, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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