Faith in action: Pew preservation

YBOR CITY -  A historic Ybor City church is looking to renovate where parishioners worship.

Standing proud on East 11th Avenue is a church that's been around for generations. Our Lady of Perpetual Help was originally founded under a different name in 1890. The church was built in 1938.

"It was the church of Ybor City for years and years," OLPH's Father Roland Lajoie said.

In it's height in the 1960s, it served about 700 families, mostly Spanish, Cuban, and Italian immigrants new to Tampa.  Today, the sprawling Ybor City campus hosts a congregation of about 300 people.

"The neighborhood has changed so much. Urban renewal has moved people away from around the church. They have to drive long distances to come, but they do come because they love the church and the spirit of the community," Lajoie said.

Now, they're trying to protect the interior of the gothic-style sanctuary. The final piece of the puzzle is replacing the church's 50-year old pews. But replacing and installing the 42 pews comes at a high cost for a smaller church. The total bill is $100,000. They're now calling on past and present members to help restore their church to it's former glory.

"Unless you ask, you don't receive. If you ask, there are always people out there that are willing to make a gift to a good cause and this is a beautiful cause to contribute to," Lajoie said.

For more information on their project, call Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 813-248-5701 or visit their website at

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