"St. Francis de Sales"

Holy Week at St. Francis de Sales to kick off with ancient choral meditation on Tuesday. All are welcome

Posted on 10 April 2017 by

Holy Week services and events at St. Francis de Sales Parish (4625 Springfield Ave.) kick off on Tuesday, April 11 with Tenebrae – a prayer in shadows.

The Latin word for “shadows” or “darkness,” tenebrae is the name given to the Church’s celebration of the Hours of Matins and Lauds for Holy Week. Nowadays, it’s often used as a “choral preparation” or meditation on the themes of the Passion. Psalms and hymns of lament are read and sung, and a great number of composers have written some beautiful meditative pieces for this rite.

All are welcome to join the Choir of St. Francis de Sales for this solemn and ancient choral meditation with the music of Palestrina, Garau, Byrd, and other composers in preparation for the Good Friday.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. and no collection will be taken or donations asked. For more information, go here. For information on other Holy Week events and services at St. Francis de Sales Church and some other local churches, visit our Events page.

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Annual Neighborhood Social to raise money for restorations at St. Francis de Sales

Posted on 24 February 2017 by

West Philly’s architectural gem, St. Francis de Sales church, has been going on some extensive restoration in the past several years. Next week, there is a chance to contribute to the church restoration fund in a fun and delicious way. The annual neighborhood social, “Some Enchanted Evening,” will take place at the parish (4625 Springfield Ave.) on Saturday, March 4, and will feature a live, 10-piece band, dinner catered by the Gold Standard Cafe, and open bar on wine and beer. The St. Francis de Sales hall will be transformed into a magical space for the evening.

Tickets are $45 and include dinner and unlimited wine and beer (bring an extra $5 for the liquor bar).

Please note that this is a non-religious event, and everyone is welcome. Doors open at 7 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.

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Christmas Concert donations to support St. Francis de Sales restoration projects

Posted on 13 December 2016 by

St_Francis_de_Sales_(Philadelphia)_1Community members are invited to St. Francis de Sales Church (47th and Springfield) for a candlelight Christmas concert under the dome this Wednesday (Dec. 14). The church’s choir will preview pieces from their annual Midnight Mass carol service, and their lineup this year will showcase pieces by Vaughan-Williams, Victoria, Franck, Garau and others, as well as feature a carol sing-along.

The concert is free and open to the public, but donations are encouraged. All proceeds go toward restoration projects in the church building, which dates to 1907.

“Since the departure of the old pastor, there are a number of cultural and community events that SFDS is looking to relaunch,” writes SFDS sexton Michael Nevadomski. “Most of them are pretty Catholic, but we’re looking to start doing more regular concerts, the first of which is a candlelight Christmas concert by our very talented choir and organist on December 14.”  Continue Reading

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St. Francis de Sales Church 125th anniversary tour and talk this Thursday

Posted on 06 May 2015 by


St. Francis de Sales Church. (Photo from Wikipedia)

St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and here’s a great opportunity to learn more about architecture and history of the church. An historical tour of the church at 47th and Springfield Ave. will take place on Thursday, May 7, starting at 6 p.m.

The tour will be followed by a talk and slide show by Bill Whitaker, Curator of the Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown collection at The Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania. The talk is about the controversial renovations inside the church by Venturi that took place in the 1960s (the renovations were removed at the request of the parishioners soon after they were introduced).

The event is free and open to the public. And there will be refreshments afterwards.

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The ‘Peace Pilgrim,’ a West Philly fixture, passes away

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Mike Lyons

Sr. Francis (photo from The Religious of the Assumption website).

Sister Francis Joseph was the “peace pilgrim.” Grace Kelly was among her students. She entered the convent at the age of 33 and traveled the world, but is known to many St. Francis de Sales students as the nun who taught peace.

Sr. Francis died last Thursday. She was 93.

Born Rachel Scarpello in Germantown, Sr. Francis served as the first lay principal of the Catholic school Ravenhill Academy in East Falls, which Kelly attended in the 1940s. Sr. Francis taught at Ravenhill for 12 years before she decided to join the order Religious of the Assumption and their convent at 1001 S. 47th St., across the street from St. Francis de Sales.


Sr. Francis on her 90th birthday in 2009.

You may have seen Sr. Francis sitting on the convent porch or you might have helped her across the street as she leaned on her cane.

“I make friends through that cane,” she told a reporter from The Catholic Standard and Times newspaper for an article marking her 90th birthday in 2009.

What you probably didn’t know is that after graduating from Chestnut Hill College she worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That was before she became a nun. During her long career with the Assumption Sisters, Sr. Francis worked in Paris, Osaka and Manilla, where she was instrumental in building housing for the poor. She was one of the first women to attend Gregorian University in Rome.

In recent years at the St. Francis de Sales School she became known as the “peace pilgrim,” stopping by classes and teaching students about peace through stories. Sr. Francis also had a long relationship with Saint Joseph’s University, where an outreach lecture series she started 30 years ago was named after her in 2011.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 5 at 10 a.m. at St. Francis de Sales (47th and Springfield).

Mike Lyons


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Donate items for St. Francis de Sales Flea Market Fundraiser

Posted on 12 June 2012 by WPL

St. Francis de Sales is holding its Annual Fundraising Flea Market this Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and you can donate your items to be sold at the de Sales table. Donations will be accepted all day Friday (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) in the de Sales School Auditorium (47th & Windsor Ave). You can bring anything except clothing and large furniture.

If you want to be a vendor at this flea market you may rent tables for $25 each. To rent a table, volunteer or get more information, call 215-222-2255.

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