The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church stands out as a gem within the heart of historic Ybor City. As beautiful as it is historically significant, OLPH, as we call it, offers a meaningful refuge for a number of devotees composed of mostly Italian, Filipino and Latino communities in the Tampa Bay Area. It is also a perfect venue for religious rites such as weddings, quinceaneras and others.
The beginnings of OLPH date back to the 1890’s when Tampa was but an infant city inhabited by only about 3,200 dwellers and Ybor City, then with a population of 4,200, just started its Cigar Industry through the employment of Spanish, Italian, German and Cuban immigrants.
Originally named Our Lady of Mercy Church, this historic sanctuary was the first Catholic church in the city of Tampa costing $1,665.75 to build. Its first mass was held on March 16, 1890 and its first choir introduced later in 1909.
With its meager and simple structure, the church lasted for 46 years until it began to require major repairs. The sanctuary was demolished and a new church was built by the Redemptionists.
On January 25, 1937, a new church was designated and named Our lady of perpetual Help Catholic Church and this is now the very sanctuary that stands today. OLPH went through the administration of various Religious Orders, the last of which are the Marist Priests in 1986 with Father Thomas Stokes, S.M. as Pastor until 2012. He was then succeeded by Father Roland Lajoie, S.M. as pastor up to the present.
I have served as the music director at OLPH since the early 2000’s and I remain totally in love of this church!
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church is located at 1711 E 11th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605. You may contact the church office at (813) 248-5701.