St. Timothy’s Church has a long and sacred history in Northeast Philadelphia. The Mayfair Catholic parish has been 1928, and recently welcomed new students from parishes the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has closed.
Those changes, as well as repairs and improvements to the property over the years, come with a big price.
Sr. Mary Elizabeth Farrell has been with the parish for the last 57 years and recalled the recent fixtures that required attention.
“To fix the elevators, that was $40,000. That was the bill and now, we need windows in the convent,” Farrell explained.
To deal with the scorching summer heat, parishioners resorted to using sticks of wood to steadily hold up the windows and gain some fresh air, an option that Farrell referred to as dangerous to the health.
To offset costs, parishioners held a flea market last weekend in the newly named Blessed Trinity Catholic School. Members of the church along, with additional friends and family in the neighborhood, gathered in the school’s gymnasium for an afternoon of selling, buying and fundraising. Many vendors who participated in the flea market sold gently used clothes, toys and books after renting a spot at the benefit in exchange for $20 donated toward the church. Some participants were able to promote their own businesses by selling their items and collecting funds for personal profits.
Eileen Leonardo is a member of the church and but also used the flea market as a chance to promote her company, “Jewelry By Eileen.” There, she sold pieces of homemade jewelry from her collection. A full-time employee at a law firm, Leonardo describes jewelry making as her form of therapy.
“Keeps me busy, out of trouble,” she joked.
What’s next for the parishioners after flea market benefits? A “Coach Bag Bingo” is already in the works, which the parish hopes will be the last fundraiser necessary to fully pay for the expenses.
Lili Zheng is a student reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.