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Parish History

The history of the Parish of St. Hilary of Poitiers tells the story of a holy and splendid people dedicated to the worship of God and the education of children. The Parish was canonically established on May 28, 1962, by the then Archbishop Krol; the decree of erection became effective on June 6, 1962, when Father John P. Cosgrove took possession of the parish as its first pastor.

On June 17, 1962, Mass was first offered for the people of St. Hilary in the auditorium of St. Basil's Academy. On March 10, 1963, Father Cosgrove officiated at the blessing and ground breaking for St. Hilary Parish. Masses in the new church were offered for the first time on Sunday, December 1, 1963. Archbishop Krol blessed the church on Saturday, December 21, 1963.

Four new buildings: church, school, rectory and convent were all completed in 18 months. For the first time a complete parish plant was built all at once. The children of St. Hilary's were placed in the hands of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The territory for the new parish formerly was part of two other parishes: Immaculate Conception, Jenkintown, and St. Cecilia, Philadelphia. Father Cosgrove served from 1962 to 1979 with his retirement as Pastor ending with his death on March 19, 1993.

Father John Glynn, retired from the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps., became St. Hilary's second Pastor, serving from 1979 through 1995. He was instrumental in raising fund to air condition the Church (say a big Amen to him in August!). He also formed the Pastoral Council and the Finance Committee.

Father Glynn was succeeded by Msgr. Michael Carroll who was installed as Pastor of St. Hilary's on January 7, 1995 and retired in June 2004. He was instrumental in establishing the Liturgy Committee, the St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Newsletter and the Women's Group.

Monsignor Michael Carroll was succeeded by Father Kevin Murray. Father Murray was ordained on May 21, 1977, and was installed as Pastor of St. Hilary's in July 2004. We celebrated our Silver Jubilee in 1987. This generation rejoices in a remarkable history as it enters into an exciting future.

Our Patron: Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Hilary was born around 315 in Poitiers, France. He was a member of a distinguished family, raised in paganism, and trained in the classics and philosophy. He was already married and father to a daughter, Abra, when he converted to Christianity. The sublime descriptions of God found in the Bible, which contrasted sharply with the materialism of pagan mythology, moved him to his conversion.

Around 350, over his own objections, he was elected Bishop of Poitiers and was immediately involved in the Arian controversy. Arianism taught that, before all else, God created first a Son who neither equal nor eternal with the Father, and that Jesus Christ was a supernatural creature, not quite human and not quite divine, Hilary supported St. Athanasius in the movement against Arianism and as a result was exiled to Phyrygia (Turkey) in 356. During his exile he finished the remaining nine of twelve books of his De Trinitate, the first extensive study of the doctrine of the Trinity written in Latin. During his exile, he was so persuasive in his arguments against Arianism that the Arians requested the Emperor send him back to France.

He composed allegorical interpretations of the Bible, sacred poetry and hymns. He authored numerous treatises, including De Synodis, Opus Historicum and Liber Mysteriorum and was the flrst Latin writer to aquaint Western Christendom with the vast theological treasures of the Greek Fathers. In 1851, Pope Pius IX declared St. Hilary a "doctor of the Universal Church."

St. Hilary died at Poitiers around 367. His feast is celebrated on January 13th.