In 2015, Mother of Mercy House was opened, inspired by Pope Francis’ call to “be a poor Church for the poor,” to be a “field hospital,” to “take the Church to the frontiers,” to “move beyond our comfort zones” and be where others might not want to be.
We were founded with a simple desire to be the presence of Christ in our community. The team at Mother of Mercy House works each day to meet the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of our Kensington neighbors with love, as we share the mercy of God.
Initially founded by two archdiocesan priests and an Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister, Mother of Mercy House started in a former bar at the corner of "G" and Allegheny, in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.
Several areas across the Archdioceses could no longer reasonably support the big buildings and massive properties of the past. This was the catalyst for establishing our ministry. MoMH desired to discover new ways of being a Catholic presence in the communities impacted by this reality. After much consideration, the Kensington neighborhood became a clear choice for this new ministry. Our location was and continues to be established in an area that needs the physical presence of Christ within "walking distance."
Kensington is rich in history and home to many immigrants. This neighborhood also suffers with poverty, violence, addiction and homelessness. Immediately upon arrival in the community, the team set out to discern the most immediate needs both spiritually and physically among their neighbors. Based on what was learned both on the street and statistically, (this area is the second food hungriest congressional district in the United States), the early focus was establishing a food program. In offering food assistance, a critical need was met while our neighbors were engaged in a meaningful way.
Though our original founders have moved on to new assignments, we are delighted to have Fr. Joe Devlin and Sr. Ann Raymond Welte, IHM on our Board of Directors. Their perspective and guidance to our small, but mighty, team on the ground is greatly valued. We remain committed to meeting our neighbors, both housed and unhoused, where they are in their lives and to evolving and refining our programs and services in ways that most effectively support our community.
As one author put it, “According to Pope Francis’s theology, full time Christians don’t sit down to admire their faith in the reflection of a mirror, nor talk about it over dinner, but they come out of themselves, embrace their cross with courage and walk the streets to share with the poor and needy the good news of God’s love.” Inspired by these words which bring the Gospel to life, our team at Mother of Mercy House strives daily to share the mercy of God with our neighbors through prayer and sacraments, counseling and support, food and clothing assistance, family programs, and most of all, by being a simple, safe, secure and steadfast Christian presence in our community.
Our very humble, but crucially needed, first food pantry at G and Allegheny.
As our work has evolved, our team has grown over the years since our founding. However, our mission remains steadfastly the same. We are committed to meeting our neighbors where they are in their lives and providing whatever we can to meet their spiritual, physical and emotional needs with God's mercy. And none of this would be possible without our partners and supporters. We are so truly grateful to the many groups and individuals that join us in this work through their donations, volunteer hours and prayers. You encourage us and ensure the vitality of our ministry. Thank you for being a vital part of our team and allowing us to continue serve, on the ground, this community we love.