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A Brief Parish History

John Cardinal O’Hara, the then Archbishop of Philadelphia, founded St. Maria Goretti Parish in 1953. The first pastor was Father Thomas F. Doyle. On June 14 of that year, the first Mass was celebrated at the Hatfield Fire Hall. Soon afterwards, Masses were celebrated at Hen’s restaurant (presently Finn McCool’s) on the Hatfield-Souderton Pike.

Ground was broken on December 27, 1953, for a church-school combination building and a convent for the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The school opened in September 1954. As early as 1960, a small social hall and gym were added. However, the Palm Sunday Holy Week celebrations began in these rooms in 1961. These rooms were to remain the Parish Church for the next 34 years.

On May 15, 1994, ground was broken again. This time, however, it was for the present Church. By July 1995, the building was ready for partial use. Finally, after 34 years in the temporary church, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua dedicated the new church on Sunday, November 19, 1995

Notwithstanding, the parish is blessed with many good families who take their faith seriously enough to want to be involved in parish life as much as they can. This is the real treasure of the parish. That fact outweighs in importance the buildings we have constructed; the priests, the sisters, and lay staff who have served the parish; and all the tales, tall or true, that could be written here.

The Mission of Our Parish

We, the faithful of St. Maria Goretti Roman Catholic Parish, exist to give thanks and praise to God, acknowledging the saving action of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, strive to proclaim the message of Christ by embracing the Stewardship Way of Life.

We therefore commit ourselves to: Seeking to see the face of Christ in one another by welcoming all into our church as members of our parish community.

Striving to become a sacramental parish by creating a community centered on prayer and worship, especially of the Holy Eucharist.

Appreciating our God given gifts and sharing them with others, we provide resources, programs and ministries to assist the community in its life long journey of Faith.

Attending to the spiritual and physical needs of our parishioners, the surrounding and global community, we spread God’s message through service.

Our Patroness – Story of Saint Maria Goretti

Maria Goretti was born a poor peasant child in Italy in 1890, the third of six children. When she was nine she began caring for her siblings.  Maria was loving, intelligent, beautiful and holy.

On July 5, 1902, Alessandro, a young man who lived and worked with the Goretti family, overtook her and demanded that she submit to him, but she told him that it would be a sin. Enraged, Alessandro stabbed her 14 times in her heart, lungs, and intestines, and then fled to his bedroom.

While in the hospital, undergoing surgery without anesthesia Maria was asked if she forgave Alessandro, she said, “Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him…and I want him to be with me in Paradise.” She died on July 6.

Alessandro spent 30 years in prison.  While there, he had a vision of Maria. He saw a garden where a young girl, dressed in white, was gathering lilies. She smiled, and came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of the lilies. As he took them, each lily became a still white flame. Maria then disappeared.

Alessandro’s conversion was complete. After he was released from prison he asked Maria’s mother to forgive him. He then became a gardener in a Capuchin monastery for the rest of his life.

Along with 30 other witnesses, Alessandro testified as to Maria’s sanctity during her Cause of Beatification. In 1950, she was canonized in a ceremony attended by a quarter million people, including her mother, the first mother ever to see her child canonized.

October 16, 1890 – Maria Goretti is born in Corinaldo, Italy to Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini

October 17, 1890 – Maria is baptized in the Church of San Francesco in Corinaldo.

October 4, 1896 – Msgr. Giulio Boschi, Bishop of Senigallia, confirms Maria.

June 16, 1901 – Maria receives her First Holy Communion in the Church of Conca, today called Borgo Montello.

July 5, 1902 – Her neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli, mortally wounds her.  He attacks her with the intent to sexually abuse her.

July 6, 1902 – Maria dies from the brutal stabbing at the age of 11 years, 9 months, and 21 days, after forgiving Alessandro.

May 31, 1935 – The informative process for Canonization commences at Albano.

April 27, 1947 – The Roman Catholic Church beatifies Maria.

June 24, 1950 – Pope Pius XII in St. Peter’s Square declares Maria Goretti a saint, becoming the youngest officially recognized Roman Catholic saint ever.

September 22, 2015 – The Body of Saint Maria Goretti journeyed from her shrine in Nettuno, Italy to Saint Maria Goretti Church in Hatfield, PA as part of the Pilgrimage of Mercy Tour in preparation for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.  Over 8,000 pilgrims venerated her body on this day in our church.

July 6, 2018 – Saint Maria Goretti Parish receives an original stone from Saint Maria Goretti’s House of Martyrdom.  The stone, from her bedroom,  was obtained due to renovations that occurred to her home located just outside Nettuno, Italy.  The funds for the renovations were raised as a result of the Pilgrimage of Mercy Tour in 2015.

July 6th – Feast Day of Maria Goretti.