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Timeline-Saint Bridget History

1825 Thomas Hickey becomes the first catholic resident of East Falls.
 
1826 Daniel Hickey, Thomas’ son baptized at St. Augustine’s, 4th & Vine Streets, the nearest Catholic church.
 
1834 Laurel Hill Cemetery opens on Ridge Ave where the first Mass was offered by Father Jeremiah Kiely in a modest chapel.
 
1844 Anti-catholic sentiment rampant climaxing with the burning of St. Augustine’s on May 8, 1844. 
 
1850 Mass & Sunday school are held at the Old Academy on Indian Queen Lane until Catholics considered the Old Academy unsafe due to a fire being set there.  Mass was then offered on the grounds of Dobson Mills.
 
1853 Twenty Catholic Families petition Bishop Neumann to found a parish in East Falls.  Father Hugh McMahan from St. Stephen’s on North Broad St. was appointed pastor.
 
Land was purchased on James St. (now Stanton St).  The men of the parish began erecting a church; the cornerstone was laid on September 18, 1853.
 
1855 Mass was celebrated for the first time in the Church.
 
1865 Interior of the Church completed, including pews and organ installed. A balcony inside the Church was built and steeple erected, a symbol of faith seen from any corner of the Falls.
 
1867 St. Bridget parishioner, Thomas Barry is ordained by Bishop Wood on 1867.  Father Barry celebrated his first Mass at St. Bridget’s on October 20, 1867
 
1875 Rectory is completed and stained glass installed for silver jubilee of the parish.
 
1887 Cornerstone of School building laid in October.
 
1888 September St. Bridget Parochial School opens with eight Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill.  St. Bridget’s Rectory was converted into a Convent.
 
1898 – 1903 The Altar and Rosary Society donate the main, marble altar. Side altars and Statue of St. Anthony donated by Mr. Thomas Delahunty.  Statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and angels were donated by the sodality.

 

1922 Plans for a new Church & Rectory planned.

 

1925 The cornerstone of present St. Bridget’s Church is laid on September 13, 1925. The Church was built by Thomas Kiely.

 

1927 St. Bridget’s New Gothic Church is dedicated by Cardinal Dougherty on January 30th.

 

1948 The “New” School building of St. Bridget’s parochial school is opened.
 
1955 Marble altar and statue of St. Joseph is installed and dedicated to the Sisters of St. Joseph.
 
1972 “The Kelley House” at 3663 Midvale was purchased for parish use. (Since demolished)
 
1975 The “Old Post Office” was purchased for use as a parish hall.  (Since demolished)
 
1995 The Sisters of Saint Joseph move into the house beside the Rectory, 3665 Midvale Avenue.
 
1995 The Conventual Franciscans rent the Convent building to house their college level student friars.  The Friars resided at St. Bridget’s “Friary” until 2006.
 
2007 Mr. JB Kelley (the nephew of Princess Grace) of The Vesper Club of Boat House Row rents to the present the former Friary (Convent) and re-names it St. Brendan’s Dormitory providing housing for Olympic hopeful and semi pro/pro hopeful Rowers.
 
2012. The Archbishop accepts the recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission established to restructure the schools of the Archdiocese and St. Bridget Parochial School is closed.