St. Vincent de Paul, Richboro
FATHER JOSEPH MCLAUGHLIN
What characteristics and/or stories about the parish’s
namesake, St. Vincent de Paul, are among the most cherished
by the pastor and parishioners?:
St. Vincent de Paul was “real,” in that many people
can identify with his spiritual journey. Born into a peasant
family living in southwestern France in 1581, he saw the priesthood
as a way out of peasantry. Ordained at the age of 20, for
10 years he aimed no higher than a clerical life of ease.
Then, in Paris in 1609, he came under the spiritual influence
of Pierre (later Cardinal) de Bérulle. His work as
chaplain to the Gondi family made him aware of the poverty
— spiritual and material — of peasants; his role
as chaplain general of the galleys in France made him aware
of the terrible lot of the galley slaves. A great change came
upon him, and he dedicated the rest of his life to the service
of the poor.
Thus, he did not start out with the highest motives, nor was
he given an unmistakable sign from God, such as a dramatic
“conversion experience.” Rather, he was open to
God’s speaking to him through the people with whom he
came in contact, and through his everyday experiences. That
openness led him to deep holiness and a phenomenal ministry.
Why was this name selected for the parish? Who first suggested
According to the founding Pastor, Father William T. McBride,
when the Archdiocesan Sites and Boundaries Committee presented
to the Archdiocesan Consultors the need for a new parish in
Richboro, Bucks County, one of the consultors noted that,
if there was to be a parish in a municipality called Richboro,
it should be named for a patron of the poor. So Cardinal Krol
decided that it would become St. Vincent de Paul Parish.
How does the parish celebrate the Feast Day of St.
Vincent de Paul on September 27th?
Since St. Vincent’s feast day occurs during Ordinary
Time, we transfer the feast to Sunday. The readings and prayers
at each of the Masses that weekend are for the Feast of St.
Vincent de Paul, not the Sunday of Ordinary Time. Evening
Prayer or Morning Prayer of the Liturgy of Hours is sung within
Mass by the entire congregation, led by two cantors; special
participation booklets are prepared to make this possible.
In addition, for the past several years on that Sunday afternoon,
we have celebrated with the Feastival . This is a parish family
picnic with food, music provided by our High School Youth
Group, games for the youngsters, hay rides, karaoke, a balloon
artist, games, two fire trucks, St. Vincent de Paul water
(you have to be here … ) and more. And it is free.
What special devotions are observed at the parish?
We have prayer groups, holy hours, Night Prayer in honor of
Our Lady, Divine Mercy hours, etc., but the [principal parish]
devotion is Sunday Liturgy.
Of which ministries are you most proud?
Since Sunday Liturgy is the devotion we see as most important,
the ministries that support Mass are emphasized:
altar servers (students and adults),
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion,
music ministry and
ministers of hospitality.
Given the mission of our patron, St. Vincent de Paul, we also
give special consideration to service ministry:
Angel Food, which prepares and delivers meals to parishioners
in their times of need;
Baby’s Corner, which collects infant
clothing to be distributed to needy parents;
Christmas Food Baskets
for two inner-city Philadelphia parishes;
Meals for the Homeless,
which go to St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia;
People to People Sundays
(two a month) to collect staples for the local food bank;
Respect Life Ministry
Parish Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
What might those who are not parishioners be surprised to
Our relationship with St. Charles Lwanga Parish in Uganda,
and with the Diocese of Tezpur in India. We were introduced
to each through the Mission Cooperative Plan. Father Joseph
Serugo, A.J., spoke at all the Masses in June 1998. He is
now assigned as the founding pastor of St. Charles Lwanga
Parish, Bubaale, Uganda, in the Archdiocese of Mbarara, and
sends us photographs and reports on the growth of his parish
which are published in our Parish Newsletter.
Father Xavier Paul spoke at all the Masses in July 1999, on
behalf of the Diocese of Tezpur, India, after which we maintained
contact with him and his diocese.
The size and scope of our Parish Newsletter (which many parishes
would call the Parish Bulletin). The Newsletter runs 14 pages,
plus two pages of advertisements.
Does the parish have any ethnic celebrations or traditions?
To celebrate our cultural diversity and our unity, we have
an annual Ethnic Dinner. In recent years, our cook volunteers
have featured these ethnic foods: American, Croatian, German,
Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Philippine, Polish,
and Spanish. Also, on Pentecost Sunday, at each of the Masses,
the petitions of the Prayer of the Faithful are read in the
different languages of parishioners.
What interesting artifacts, architectural features
and/or special works of art are in the church?
The Father William T. McBride Memorial Window adorns the front
of the Church and is illuminated at night. The window features
our patron, St. Vincent de Paul, with his empty hands extended,
and is meant to convey that all that St. Vincent received
simply passed through his hands and went to the poor. The
artist was the well-known Philadelphian, Robert F. McGovern.
At the rear of the Church we have a stone, brought here from
the Parish Church of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris, France.
What amusing incidents are part of the parish’s history?
While we laugh a lot, no specific amusing incidents of our
parish history stand out.
What occasions of or in the parish have been particularly
Thanksgiving Day Mass is an especially poignant celebration
for many parishioners. The Adult Choir provides the music,
Morning Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours is sung by the
congregation within Mass, and there is a reception in the
Church Hall immediately after Mass. Efforts are made to include
parishioners who otherwise might be alone on Thanksgiving
What are among the most commonly asked questions about the
Do you accept donations of clothing (24 hours a day, seven
days a week)? Do you pick up furniture? Directory Assistance
seems unable to distinguish our parish from the Society of
St. Vincent de Paul.
What else would you like everyone to know the about
Our parishioners are proud that “one of our own,”
Rev. Mr. Christopher Cooke, will be ordained a priest on May
20 for service in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We are
looking forward to his celebrating his First Mass here on
Sunday, May 21st.
We are preparing to build a Parish Center. This is being made
possible by the Living Stones ... ... Building to Serve capital
campaign that began in September 2004. It is phase one of
a three-phase project.
St. Vincent de Paul Church
654 Hatboro Rd, Richboro, Pa., 18954-1039
On the Web: www.svdp-richboro.org
Cluster: 30 - Bucks County Vicariate
Date Founded: 1968
Current Pastor: Father Joseph J. McLaughlin
Parochial Vicar: Father Richard E. Rudy
Priest in Residence: None
Permanent Deacons: Deacon John M. Golaszewski;
Deacon William F. Iacobellis
Name of School; Number of Students; Staffed by Which
Religious Order; Number of Lay and Religious Staff?
Our parish has a preschool with a current enrollment of 53
students. There are 10 lay teachers.Parishioners in grades
1 through 8 attend Catholic school in one of four neighboring
parish schools: St. Andrew in Newtown; St. Bede in Holland;
Nativity of Our Lord in Warminster, and Our Lady of Good Counsel
Convent Name/Religious Order Residing There:
St. Vincent de Paul Parish Convent. Present residents include
one Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (from
the Scranton motherhouse) who is our director of religious
education, and two Sisters of St. Joseph, who work in other
Number of Registered Individuals: 6,403
Number of Registered Families: 1,954
Annually, number of [Actual figures for 2005]