History

On June 2, 1967, Father Michael J. Bednar was appointed founding pastor of the parish of Saints Peter and Paul which was carved out of the four adjacent parishes of SS. Philip and James in Exton, St. Patrick in Malvern, SS. Simon and Jude in Westtown and St. Agnes in West Chester.

Before the construction of the church, Mass was celebrated at Immaculata College and Villa Maria House of Studies. A residence at the corner of Boot Road and Windsor Drive was purchased on September 29, 1967, for use as a rectory.

On December 8, 1968, ground breaking for a church took place on a 15-acre tract that was formerly part of the Sullivan Estate. The first Mass in the newly complete church was celebrated on Thanksgiving Day, 1969. The formal dedication by John Cardinal Krol took place on May 9, 1970. There were approximately 450 families registered in the parish at that time.

On September 5, 1972, Father Louis D. Kovacs was appointed second pastor, at the same time that the growth in Chester County began to bring new parishioners to the small parish. In September 1974, Sister M. Bernardine Buckley, R.S.G. came to the parish as the first Coordinator of Religious Education. The program established by Sister Bernardine continues to flourish.

A rectory was built and occupied in September 1981, along with a Parish Center that housed a chapel used for daily Mass, meeting rooms also used for Religious Education classes, a lounge, office and library. The Parish Center was dedicated by Auxiliary Bishop Martin N. Lohmuller on April 25, 1982, and was later renamed the Father Kovacs Parish Center in gratitude for Father Kovac’s leadership and dedication to the parish.

In 1990, the appearance of the church was enhanced with the installation of a steeple and carillons, and in 1991, the process of designing and installing twenty stained-glass windows was begun.

On June 13, 1993, Father James J. Foley was installed by Monsignor James T. McDonough as the third pastor of the parish. SS. Peter and Paul Parish continued to grow in many ways. By this time there were more than 1700 families registered. The Religious Education program had expanded, not only through increased enrollment in the elementary grades, but also through the addition of programs for middle school and high school students.

The interior of the church took on a new look through the replacement of the dark paneling in the sanctuary with light-colored walls, new carpeting in the sanctuary and nave, installation of a decorative stone wall behind the altar with matching pulpit and tabernacle base, new see-through doors separating the gathering area and the nave, refinished pews and new wall treatment. But the highlight of the interior upgrading was the installation of the large stained-glass window, depicting the American Saints, in the choir loft. In 2017, while celebrating the parish’s 50th Jubilee Year, the church was renovated in time for the closing Mass in October 2017. New carpeting, painting, Stations of The Cross, Sanctuary furniture, Tabernacle,  pew restoration and enhancements were started in May 2017.

The spirit that makes a parish alive has continued to grow at SS. Peter and Paul. On the first Sunday of each month during the school year, all parishioners are invited to socialize with coffee and doughnuts and other refreshments, in the church hall after Mass.

A Christmas show that is written, directed and performed by parishioners has made Christmas more of a parish celebration for several years. Participation in the “Angel” program has enabled hundreds of people at Project H.O.M.E. and Mission Santa Maria to receive Christmas gifts.

The season of Lent each year has a more profound meaning through the presentation of the Living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday evening, also written, directed and performed by parishioners.

SS. Peter and Paul Parish started the third millennium with two major construction projects. The first to be completed was the new Parish Education Center that houses a school, which will eventually accommodate pre-K through 8th grade. Formal dedication of the new education building by Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua took place on September 30, 2001. Miss Nancy Heim came to the parish as principal of our new school, and put together a team of teachers, as well as providing valuable input in the furnishings and equipping of the school. All Religious Education classes for public school children were also conducted in the new education building under the direction of Mrs. Patricia Ehrhart.

At the end of 2001, expansion of the Narthex at the back of the church was completed with the addition of rest-room facilities, and elevator to the church hall, a new sacristy, all of which surrounds a large indoor gathering space.

In 2009, Msgr. Daniel Kutys was installed as pastor, followed by Fr. Vincent Welsh in 2012. Father Welsh died in May of 2014 and Fr. James McGuinn was then installed as pastor. Our current pastor, Fr. Angelo Citino was installed by Bishop John McIntyre in September of 2016.

 

©2004-2017 Saints Peter and Paul. Site by Durkan Group.