About Saints Peter and Paul Parish
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. The Parish Center is currently used as office and meeting room space for the parish.
In the 1990’s, the appearance of the Church was enhanced with the installation of a steeple and carillons, and twenty stained-glass windows. The interior of the Church also changed through the replacement of dark paneling with light-colored walls, the installation of a decorative stone wall behind the altar with matching pulpit and tabernacle bases, and eventually the installation of a large stained-glass window, depicting the American Saints, in the choir loft.
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.
In the Father Kovacs Parish Center, the chapel was redecorated and expanded. A new altar, leaded-glass doors, new chairs and other enhancements were added. The parish center continued to serve the parish and the community and continues to be used daily.
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. 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 the first principal of our new school. The school currently accommodates pre-K through 8th grade.
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.
During the course of its history, Saints Peter and Paul has had seven pastors. The first, Father Michael Bednar, served from 1967 to 1972. The second pastor, Father Louis Kovacs, served as pastor from 1972 until 1993. In 1993, Father (later Monsignor) James J. Foley led the parish from 1993 to 2009. In 2009, Monsignor Daniel J. Kutys was named the fourth pastor, serving in that capacity until 2012 when Archbishop Charles Chaput named Father Vincent F. Welsh the fifth pastor of Saints Peter and Paul. Father Welsh passed away on May 16, 2014 and Father James T. McGuinn was named the sixth pastor until we welcomed our seventh and current pastor, Father Angelo R Citino on September 13, 2016.
In 2017, SS. Peter and Paul Parish celebrated fifty years as a community of Faith serving people in the West Chester area. The parish continues to flourish as a Catholic community of faith and as a source of enrichment of the spiritual, educational and social needs of the parishioners.