John Cardinal Krol established our parish on May 28, 1968 and named Father William T. McBride (pictured left) as its founding pastor. One of the archdiocesan consultors had commented that if there were to be a parish in Richboro, perhaps it should be named for the patron of the poor. Cardinal Krol immediately decided that the name would be St. Vincent de Paul Parish.
Initially, Father McBride accepted Father Martin’s offer to take up residence in St. Bede Rectory. He then moved into the first “rectory,” a rented house in “downtown” Richboro. Weekday Mass and Baptisms were celebrated in the rectory; Sunday Mass was celebrated in the Churchville Elementary School auditorium. The parish had about 450 families. On November 15, 1970, the first Sunday Masses were celebrated in our Church. On May 8, 1971, Cardinal Krol dedicated the Church and administered the Sacrament of Confirmation. Father McBride moved into the present rectory in 1975.
Religious Education classes were coordinated and taught by volunteers in the Church basement. In September, 1973, leadership for the program was assumed by two Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Sister Natalie, MFIC and Sister Frances, MFIC; they were later joined by Sister Celeste, MFIC, and Sister Rosario, MFIC. The Sisters lived in rented quarters in “downtown” Richboro until 1976 when the convent was ready. The Religious Education Building was completed in 1983. The Sisters left in 1984.
Following the Sisters’ departure, Mary Kelly became our Director of Religious Education from 1984 to 1995. She was succeeded in turn by Sister Geraldine Dranginis, IHM (1995 – 2009); Sister Alice Gallagher, SSJ (2009-2017); Mary McFillin (2017-2018); and Elaine Potalivo (2018-).
Since Father McLaughlin’s arrival, Catholic Life 2000 funds enabled the air conditioning of the Church and the computerization of parish records. In November, 1996, our convent re-opened with a community formed by Sister Geraldine Dranginis, IHM, who was then our Director of Religious Education, and several Sisters of St. Joseph working in other apostolates. In 2009, Sister Alice Gallagher, SSJ, who succeeded Sister Geraldine as Director of Religious Education, moved into the convent with two other Sisters of St. Joseph.
Our walkway and prayer garden were first proposed in September, 1997, the design donated by Russell Gardens in memory of Ed Adamow. The Father McBride Memorial Window behind the choir loft was completed in time for the celebration of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul in September, 2000.
“Concept Drawings for a Parish Center” were presented in the July 1, 2001 Parish Newsletter. This began a process of consultation with the parish, a Feasibility Study, engaging the architect Martin A. De Sapio, AIA, launching the Living Stones capital campaign, and seeking approval from Northampton Township and the Archdiocese. Site work began in November, 2006. We received the Certificate of Occupancy for the building on February 26, 2008, and began celebrating weekday Masses in the Chapel of St. Louise de Marillac the next day. Bishop Daniel Thomas blessed the new facilities on April 27, 2008. Because of the generosity of our parishioners, no borrowing was necessary to complete the project.
The stained glass windows in the Chapel of St. Louise de Marillac were designed and executed by parishioner Patrice Schelkun. The Stations of the Cross in the Chapel were originally in our Church; the present Stations in Church came from St. Clement Church in Southwest Philadelphia which was closed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2004.
Our participation in the Archdiocese’s Heritage of Faith ã Vision of Hope campaign began in early 2010 and continued for five years. A parish survey prioritized the parish projects to be funded by the campaign. First was the total renovation of the Church Hall bathrooms. The second project was the refurbishing of the Church sanctuary. In 2013, the campaign funded new lighting in the Church, Church Hall and Religious Education Building, replacing obsolete T12 fluorescents with energy-efficient lamps. In 2015, the campaign partially funded the purchase and installation of 20 stained glass windows in the Church; the windows were originally in St. Alphonsus Church in Glens Falls, NY, which was closed by the Diocese of Albany in 2010.
Building a Bridge to Uganda has built the Pope John Paul II High School outside of Kampala, Uganda, Opening in February, 2012, it now has a full complement of 6 grades, and is a highly rated school in the country. Our parish and our parishioners continue to support Pope John Paul II High School, as well as a school in Rwanda, a parish in Tanzania, and the Diocese of Tezpur in India.
In October, 2012 our parish began developing a relationship with the DePaul Catholic School, a regional elementary mission school in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Representatives of the school visit yearly, and we take-up an annual collection for the school. We intend to continue to develop increased interconnectivity.
From October, 2017 through October, 2018 the parish celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the parish. This included introducing new liturgies, ministries and social events, a pilgrimage to Paris, France, and a Mass of Thanksgiving on April 22, 2018, with Archbishop Chaput as the principal celebrant.
Pandemic and On
During the pandemic shutdown, beginning on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020, the parish pre-recorded each Sunday Mass and streamed it via the parish YouTube channel. In December, 2020 the parish invested in the hardware and software necessary to live-stream. At present each 5:00 P.M. Vigil Mass is lived-streamed by volunteers and is available throughout the weekend; also live-streamed are the 9:00 A.M. weekday Masses and the 8:00 A.M. Saturday Mass.
Our ministries to local communities include the Vincent’s Hands Ministry, People-to-People Sunday, Meals for the Homeless, the Christmas Baskets Program, etc. This history of growing ministry within and beyond our community — and our country — is inspired by a deepening desire to enter into the spirituality of our patron, St. Vincent de Paul.
The parish now has 1,875 families.
Fr. McLaughlin - Pastor Emeritus
Fr. McLaughlin was appointed to retirement status in June, 2022 by Archbishop Pérez after 29 years as Pastor, and Fr. Stephen Paolino was named as our new Pastor at the same time.
Saint Vincent de Paul Parish continues to thrive and grow thanks to the leadership of our wonderful and faithful priests, and due to the dedication and faithfulness of our parishioners!