Catholics to ‘mass’ on Sunday in South Philly

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 The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Church at third and Reed streets will be the site of a 'Mass mob' this Sunday. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Church at third and Reed streets will be the site of a 'Mass mob' this Sunday. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

For the second time, Philadelphia-area Catholics will congregate at a single parish for “Mass Mob Philly.”  The service will take place at Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in South Philadelphia.

A mob will gather in Philadelphia’s Pennsport neighborhood this weekend. But don’t worry, Catholics who show up for the second “Mass Mob Philly” on Sunday morning will be turning out to worship together — not to wreak havoc.

The second “Mass Mob Philly” will be held at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish located in South Philadelphia.

Organizer Ben DiFrancesco said Sacred Heart was one of four parishes in the archdiocese nominated by its staff. He said the location fits with some of the goals of “Mass Mob Philly,” which include bringing people into older parishes.

“You see very beautiful buildings,” he said.

And, he said, it’s an opportunity to support parishes in neighborhoods where significant demographic shifts over the years have resulted in empty pews.

“It’s really just a normal Mass — a normal Sunday Mass. And what makes it special is that people are coming from around the archdiocese and actually even people from outside of the Philadelphia Archdiocese attended,” he said. “It’s that opportunity for community and to meet other Catholics from the Philadelphia region that you normally wouldn’t get to see.”

DiFrancesco attends the church where the first event was held a few months ago. He called it a success.

“The first one was held at St. Francis Xavier in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia. That was in March. It was pretty successful,” he said. “At a Mass that normally has about 100 people in attendance, we had 450 people attend that day.”

DiFrancesco said Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish won narrowly in online voting — and he expects future gatherings will be held at some of the runner-ups in the future.

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