Parish Mission / History

Parish Mission

Who We Are
We, the Roman Catholic Community of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, in union with the Pope, our Archbishop and the Church of Philadelphia, are a growing and diverse people, seeking unity in the Body of Christ through our shared faith.
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What We Value

Our values are rooted in Catholic teachings and traditions and are as follows: What We Hope to Become

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and through the intercession of Mary our Mother, and our patron saint, Ignatius, we hope to become:

“There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.”
Cor. 13:13

Parish History

St. Ignatius of Antioch History Outline

The Catholic community of Yardley, PA had a relatively small population around the time of the purchase of the first Catholic church (around 25 families in 1904). By the 1950s, the congregation had swelled to over 750 families! The arduous process of founding St. Ignatius church, spread over the course of 80 years to get to where it is currently today. It began when in 1873 the Municipal School on Main Street purchased with the purpose of providing a church for the Catholic community of Yardley. The community decided to adopt the name of “St. Ignatius” for their future church and the Main Street location served the parishioners of St. Ignatius for over 60 years. St. Ignatius was long overshadowed by nearby parishes, including St. Andrew’s in Newtown and St. John the Evangelist also in Morrisville.

For a period in St. Ignatius’s history, we were a flock without a shepherd. In 1880, the community of Yardley petitioned the Archbishop to name St. Ignatius the next parish in the Buck County area, however, the Archbishop gave that honor to St. Andrew’s, forcing Catholics in Yardley to wait more time until they had a parish of their own. In 1900, Father McAnany was transferred to St. Ignatius and encouraged the citizens there to raise money to build their own church. By 1904, the community had $6000 to go toward the construction of their new church. In 1920, ten years after World War I and over fifty years since the initial purchase of the small school to stand in as a Church, Cardinal Dennis Dougherty authorized the establishment of a parish in Yardley. Father Edward Stapleton was appointed the parish’s first pastor.

In the spring 1958, construction begins for St. Ignatius School at its current Reading Avenue location, with plans to build a new church in the coming years. In fall of that same year St. Ignatius School opens its doors to its first students. Previously, those families who wished to educate their children in the Catholic faith had to send them to nearby schools. In 1965, after sixty years at the Main Street location, St. Ignatius was ready to move to a new church location to accommodate its ever growing congregation. It had become apparent that there needed to be a new church because of the growing population, some parishioners had to sit outside on the steps in order to hear the liturgy. In the 1965 groundbreaking ceremony for the Reading Avenue church building, Father Stapleton was the first to wield a shovel and break ground. The first mass was celebrated in June of 1966, with a population of 3000 parishioners. St. Ignatius still stands there currently today, with its parishioners growing stronger in faith and understanding everyday.

History of our Namesake, St. Ignatius of Antioch:

St. Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was a Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. Born in Syria, St. Ignatius converted to Christianity and eventually became bishop of Antioch. In the year 107, Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. St. Ignatius would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome.

St. Ignatius is well known for the seven letters he wrote on the long journey from Antioch to Rome. Five of these letters are to Churches in Asia Minor, urging the Christians there to remain faithful to God and to obey their superiors. The sixth letter was to the bishop of Smyrna, a man who, like St. Ignatius, was later martyred for his faith. The final letter begs the Christians in Rome not to try to stop his martyrdom. St. Ignatius bravely met the lions in the Circus Maximus.

St. Ignatius’s greatest priority was the unity and order of the Church. He was willingness to suffer martyrdom rather than deny his Lord Jesus Christ and ensure the unity of the Church. St. lgnatius did not want the focus to be on his suffering, but on the love of God which strengthened him. He knew the price of commitment and would not deny Christ, even to save his own life.

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