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April 1, 2003


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will bless and dedicate the new campus of St. Francis - St. Joseph Homes for Children in Bensalem, Bucks County, one of the oldest and most respected residential child welfare programs in Pennsylvania. St. Francis-St. Joseph offers a comprehensive range of specialized services for dependent and neglected children, ages 9 - 18, all of whom are from Philadelphia. The new state of the art facility will allow St. Francis-St. Joseph to provide centralized, enhanced services and continue the mission of Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to serve the most vulnerable in the community.

The new $7.5 million campus facility consists of five new residential cottages, each housing ten boys, a new school building for 80 students, a gymnasium and a new administrative building. Previously, the administrative offices and a school building had been located on the campus of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (adjacent to the new site). The costs have been met through the use of private funds, debt service, and foundation grants. In addition to the 50 boys who reside on the campus, 90 boys live in ten community-based group homes (there were 15 group homes used prior to the creation of the new facilities). St. Francis-St. Joseph provides residential service for a total of 140 boys.

Friday, April 4, 2003
11:00 a.m.
St. Francis/St. Joseph Homes for Children
Street Road and Bristol Pike
Bensalem, Bucks County

During the dedication, Cardinal Bevilacqua will make a special visit to bless the Jack Smith Administration Building. Jack Smith (1938-1999) spent almost his entire career ministering to children with needs. As Director of Children's Services for Catholic Social Services, Mr. Smith had close ties to St.Francis-St. Joseph. At the time of his death, Mr. Smith was Deputy Secretary of Catholic Social Services.

The new campus carves out 50 acres of a 200 acre property given to the Archdiocese by the Drexel family. The new buildings sits on the site of the original St. Francis Industrial School, a vocational school for orphans founded in 1888 by Saint Katharine Drexel and her sisters. Each of the new buildings is named in honor of a benefactor or former administrator and the new school is named for Saint Katharine.

This is the second of seven major projects to be completed by Catholic Human Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2003.


Major Projects of Catholic Human Services
of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2003



St. Francis - St. Joseph Homes for Children, Bensalem, Bucks County

On April 4, 2003, Cardinal Bevilacqua dedicates new $7.5 million complex. The new campus of St. Francis - St. Joseph Homes for Children cares for 50 dependent and neglected children, all of whom are from Philadelphia. The campus includes five new residential cottages, each housing ten boys, a school building, a gymnasium/recreation complex and an administrative building.

St. Gabriel's Hall, Audobon, Montgomery County
On June 26, 2003, Cardinal Bevilacqua rededicates St. Gabriel's, which has undergone a $12 million renovation. St. Gabriel's System, which includes St. Gabriel's Hall as well as community based services, has provided residential education and treatment to more than 2000 court-adjudicated delinquent youth over the past 100 years. St. Gabriel's Hall currently cares for 205 boys, ages 13 to 18, most from Philadelphia. Included in the renovations is a new ranch style home for The Mitchell Program, a residential farm-based community for 24 young men in shorter term stays. The project also includes renovations to other residential units, roof replacements and kitchen renovations.

Kensington Transitional Housing and Community Center, Kensington, Philadelphia
In November 2003, $5.2 million project to be completed. 18 new units of transitional housing offering a safe haven for mothers and children moving from shelters. Community Center will be located at the site of the former Starlight Ballroom which has been abandoned for years and will include a new gymnasium and recreation space for the community as well as meeting rooms and office space.

St. Vincent's, Tacony, Philadelphia
Renovations costing $3 million are underway at this comprehensive, 40-bed emergency shelter for dependent, neglected boys and girls, ages 2-15.

St. John's Hospice, Philadelphia
Renovations costing $625,000 are underway at this 40-bed shelter for homeless men which provides housing and 6000 meals per month.

Mercy Hospice, Philadelphia
Renovations costing $325,000 are underway at this 50-bed shelter for homeless women and children.


Villa Saint Martha, Downingtown, Chester County

On March 27, 2003, Cardinal Bevilacqua dedicates the new Villa Saint Martha, the first supportive independent living project to be undertaken by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Villa Saint Martha offers independent living apartments as well as assisted living suites and a unit providing assisted living with memory support. Villa Saint Martha welcomed its first residents in January 2003. The 120 bed supportive independent living community in Downingtown, Chester County is adjacent to Saint Martha Manor, a nursing home which opened in 1989.

Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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