Right next to the definition of the phrase “salt of the earth” you could easily find a picture of Pat Smiley. A devout Catholic she’s among the many parishioners living in the Frankford section of the city. Since the Philadelphia Archdiocese decided to close St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa - the Frankford community will be without a Roman Catholic Church for the first time in 168 years. Parishioners have been told to attend Holy Innocents in Juniata.
Pat and other supporters want to see a church in Frankford and are leading the appeal effort though her organization Keep the Faith in Frankford. They point out that St. Joachim was financially viable and are concerned the elderly and infirmed will face insurmountable challenges traveling the distance to Holy Innocents. Her group has also joined in solidarity to demonstrate against the closing of other churches in Philadelphia - including La Milagrosa, Pennsylvania’s oldest Latino Catholic Church. Pat and Keep the Faith in Frankford are taking their cause to the Vatican.
Pat has written that “anytime a church is closed, the candle of faith burns less bright! But we are tenders of that light and it is up to us to keep it burning bright – in spite of not having our beloved church.” Pat and the members of keepthefaithinfrankford.org are hoping they’ll get their church back. They’re praying for a miracle. Check out my interview with Pat which airs this Sunday on What’s Going on from 7-7:30 AM on Q102, Radio 104.5 and Mix106.1. If you’d like to be highlighted for your work in the community follow me on Twitter @loraineballard.