The History of the Parish
SS. Simon and Jude Parish was founded on May 31, 1961 with 360 families and Father Joseph A. Cavanaugh as Pastor on 13 acres of land, including the stone house that is now used as the rectory. The first Mass in the new parish was said at the meeting hall adjoining the Goshen Fire House on June 11, 1961. Plans were made to build a combination church and school with an all-purpose room and a convent. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on November 19, 1961. Until the church was completed, the rectory was used as the center of all parish activities. The rectory dining room served as a chapel and the basement was used for meetings and CCD classes.
On Sunday, September 2, 1962, the first Mass in the church was celebrated by Fr. Cavanaugh. Two days later our parish school opened with 260 students. The Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters staffed our school then, and continue to do so to this day. During the following years, the parishioners worked very hard in all types of parish work and volunteered many hours of their time in various groups to help defray the expense of building a new church. This was the beginning of the spirit of involvement in parish life. After 22 years as Pastor of SS. Simon and Jude parish, Fr. Cavanaugh died suddenly on Palm Sunday, 1983.
Our second pastor, Fr. Joseph A. Monihan assumed his responsibilities on April 15, 1983. On May 25, 1986, Father Monihan presided over our Silver Jubilee celebration which included a Mass and a reception for the entire parish. Father Monihan was named Pastor Emeritus in September 1989. He died August 13, 1990. On September 16, 1989, Father Francis X. Meehan was installed as the third pastor of SS. Simon and Jude parish.
In the 1980s, there was a strong migration of Catholic people to Chester County during which time, the number of parishioners rose dramatically. Our parish continued to grow even after some 500 families were invited to join St. Maximillian Kolbe, a newly-formed neighboring parish. In 1994, over 2500 registered families comprised SS. Simon and Jude parish.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, with the help of talented associate pastors, Deacons, and lay leaders, a whole array of ministries flowered within the parish. Some examples include Scripture groups, premarital and prebaptismal sessions, the Pro-Life program, CCD, Evangelization Committee, Eucharistic and Liturgical ministries, programs for visiting the sick, and many other social, athletic, and spiritual groups. A parish committee helped to initiate a new stewardship program, and the level of parishioner involvement in all aspects of parish life and ministry continued to increase.
A successful Parish Mission was held in November 1993. On March 14, 1994, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua spent the day visiting our parish, school, and several shut-ins. It was a warm and pastoral visit.
In the years since the parish was founded, there have been several major renovations of the Church. Also, there was construction of Cavanaugh Hall in 1969, and in 1991, the building of a parish center and new wing for both school and CCD sessions.
On November 20, 2005 the new church was opened and dedicated. In March of 2006 Perpetual Eucahristic Adoration was established in the Sacred Heart Chapel.
The original church, now Monihan Hall, was renovated and dedicated for School and Parish use on June 11, 2006.
In 2007, Cavanaugh Hall was renovated (major changes included a wooden floor and bleachers).
On June 10, 2007, a retirement celebration was held for Rev. Msgr. Francis X. Meehan "Father Meehan".
On August 4, 2007, Rev. Msgr. Francis W. Beach was installed as our new Pastor.
Rev. Michael J. Gerlach was installed as the Pastor on August 14, 2011.