About Our Parish
In 1886, Bishop O'Hara established St. Paul Parish by carving sections from St. Peter's Cathedral, Holy Rosary and St. Mary's, Dunmore, into a unit and dedicated it to the patronage of Saint Paul. The Bishop purchased three lots on Penn Avenue and appointed Rev. P.J. McManus as pastor. The first structure built on Penn Ave. was a little church, a 30 by 100 ft. log chapel of hemlock, known as "The Tabernacle" or "The Wigwam". On Sunday, March 1, 1887, the first Mass was celebrated and an estimated 300 people attended. The first baptism was March 6, 1887 and our first marriage was March 26, 1887.
Rev. McManus addressed the future needs of his parishioners by creating the structures to support the growth of the community. Plans were made to replace the temporary church with a new one, which was dedicated on December 21, 1890. The new building provided schooling, the church, and a parish hall. In 1892, Rev. McManus secured the services of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Hearts of Mary to teach the children. In 1898, the convent for the sisters was completed.
St. Paul's next pastor, Rev. Peter C. Winters, initiated the building of the rectory, which was completed in 1912. Rev. M.F. O'Rourke, the next pastor, assigned in 1921, secured a site for a larger church. In November of 1925, Rev. D.J. Connor, then pastor, was presented with a large dilemma. The old school, which had served the parish well, had become inadequate for modern needs. The parishioners voted that the new church project would be put aside so that the building of a new school could take precedence. The cornerstone of that school was laid on November 20, 1927 by Rev. James Hussie, the pastor at the time.
Msgr. John J. Vaughan was appointed pastor in 1940. He inherited a parish deep in debt due to the strains of the depression and World War II. Within 10 years, he not only led the parish out of debt, but also secured a building fund in order to construct the long-awaited church building. The groundbreaking for the new church was January 10, 1951 and the dedication of the new church took place on March 23, 1952.
Growing Through Change
During the early 1950's, St. Paul Parish was in a period of phenomenal growth as Green Ridge became a popular and attractive residential area. In addition, it was Bishop Hafey's desire that there be smaller, almost neighborhood-like Catholic Churches and schools in the various areas of Scranton. It was at this time that St. Clare's Convent, School and Church were erected. St. Clare's School opened in September of 1954. St. Clare Church was dedicated as a mission church of St. Paul Parish in March of 1955. St. Clare Convent was completed in February of 1958. In June of 1967, St. Clare was declared a parish. As the years passed, the Green Ridge area has faced many changing needs. Due to a decline in the number of priests serving in the diocese as well as a change in dempgraphics, St. Paul and St. Clare Parishes began sharing one pastor in 2007. After the diocesan-wide parish studies, Called to Holiness and Mission, our parishes became linked. In June 2009, St. Clare Parish and St. Paul Parish merged. St. Clare Church is, once again, a mission church for St. Paul Parish. It is now the site for Eucharistic Adoration Monday through Friday. St. Clare Church also hosts a Sunday Vigil Mass at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, along with masses for school children attending St. Clare/St. Paul School Primary Campus, formerly known as St. Clare School.
Looking to the Future
Due to our burgeoning growth, and a parish full of willing volunteers called to Faith, we are still growing. Under the guidance of our pastor, Msgr. Neil Van Loon, St. Paul Parish is flourishing. We always welcome new members, and look forward to seeing you at our services.
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