Hello and thank you for visiting, welcome to the Parish Community of St. John the Baptist! Please download a registration form below if you are joining us at Mass and would like to
register in the parish.
If you are registering as a potential Godparent or Sponsor, it is a requirement that you not only are a registered, supportive parishioner for at least six months through Liturgical and Community life, but also are a mature (16 years of age or older), fully initiated Catholic living within the requirements of a Sacramental Marriage -or - living Single as an unmarried person - according to Canon Law. Visit the Sacraments tab / Letter of Eligibility for more detailed information. Note well: Requests made less than six months in advance or those who do not fulfill the requirements therefore may not be received by the Pastor.
Weekend Masses are Saturday Vigil at 4:00 pm, Sunday morning at 9:00 & 11:00 a.m, & 6:00 pm.
Weekday Masses are Monday through Friday at 7:00 AM, in the All Saints’ Chapel located in the Rectory. Adoration is in the Chapel after mass every Friday until 4:00 PM, and Thursday evenings from 6:00 - 7:00 PM.
Confessions begin at 3:00 pm -3:40 pm before the Saturday Vigil Mass, and 5:00 - 5:45 preceding the Sunday 6:00 PM Mass during Lent.
Holy Day Masses are at 7:00 AM, 12:05 PM and 7:00 p.m. There is no Holy Day Vigil Mass.
Our church is handicapped accessible. There is handicapped parking in front of the church and the setback in front of the lower school building next to the church. On-street parking is also available, and a parking lot is located directly behind the Rectory.
All are encouraged to participate fully in both the spiritual and social life of St. John’s, and join us in our
parish Ministries & Organizations.
If you would like to share your talents, organize or chair a Parish Organization, or just want to become more involved and informed, please contact the rectory and we will get you in touch with a
Please notify the rectory if you are moving, or if you change your address or telephone number.
A Brief History of St. John the Baptist Parish and Church
St. John the Baptist Parish’s humble beginnings started in the home of Jerome and Eulalia Keating in the small milltown of Manayunk. In the winter of 1829-30 it is believed that the first Catholic Mass in our area was celebrated in the Keatings’ home. Mrs. Eulalia Keating was said to have held a weekly Sunday school for a dozen or so neighboring children. The Keatings’ residence became the convent housing the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, serving the parish until the closing of the school in 2006. It was the original building on the site spurring the building of a church, and was located on Cresson Street, until 2018.
Eventually when about 20 families (about 100 people) were attending masses at their home, Jerome Keating, a cotton mill owner, proposed the start of a parish, and made a gift of the ground for a church and cemetery. The original church opened on April 4, 1831, and stood adjacent to the current cemetery, the cornerstone laid where the Upper School building stands (former St. John's Girls' High School). It was the first Catholic Parish established outside of Center City and the tenth oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In 1833, Jerome Keating passed away. Afterward, Eulalia Keating, mother of three, became Sister Mary Joseph in the Order of the Vistation in Georgetown. Their daugther Amelia received her First Holy Communion on Christmas Eve midnight Mass in the church in 1832 with 11 other children. She eventually entered the Carmelite order in Baltimore, MD. Jerome and Eulalia Keating are buried together in St. John's Cemetery.
The Growth of the Catholic Community continued in the area. St. John’s would become the “mother church” to the area churches, beginning with St. Patrick in Norristown (1835), St. Mary of the Assumption (1848), Holy Family, (1885), St. Josaphat (1898), and St. Lucy (1907). Eventually the rapid growth of the church and beginnings of a school became too small for the manufacturing town, calling for the building of a new cathedral-like church.
The current church was designed by architect Patrick Charles Keely of New York, and dedicated on April 1, 1894. It was built with a legacy gift of $100,000 in 1881 from Bernard McCane and his wife. Combined with the help of the local community, the Church was built at a total cost of $250,000. Over the following decades, it was outfitted with interiors, the stations, and many of the sculptures the work of eminent sculptor Joseph Sibbel of New York. The church organ is the original from 1906, also when bell tower was completed. The main altar is adorned with statues of St. Bernard and St. Cecelia, in honor of the Church Benefactors.
It is believed our cemetery has buried more Civil War Veterans than any other small cemetery in America. Our school buildings served as a Parish Hall, Boys and Girls’ High Schools, and elementary school. The Honor Roll(s) in our Social Hall name parish veterans who served during World War II. Before the Social Hall was turned into a gathering place for events, it served as a chapel and lower church. It was for a time used for Mass during neighboring parishes’ Church remodeling, and new construction.
The first organist of the parish was esteemed banker Francis M. Drexel. This devoted Catholic and now grandfather of a Saint, would travel seven miles on foot along what is now Kelly Drive, from his Center City home to our church in Manayunk, to play the organ for an annual salary of $150.00. Katharine Drexel was canonized a Saint on October 1, 2000, by (Saint) Pope John Paul II.
Recent years have been pivotal in the Manayunk Catholic community. In 2005, neighboring parish's St. Mary of the Assumption, St. Lucy, and Holy Family Catholic Schools closed. Then in 2006, St. Josaphat, and St. John the Baptist Schools followed. Holy Child school emerged as a regional Catholic school the next year. The closing of five parish schools, along with demographic changes in the neighborhood, was a precursor of things to come.
Sadly in 2012, St. Jospahat Church (Polish), and St. Mary of the Assumption Church (German) closed, along with St. Lucy Church (Italian), after over 100 years in Manayunk. Then in 2013, Holy
Child, the only Catholic School in Manayunk, closed. St. Lucy merged with Holy Family Church, and St. Josaphat and St. Mary of the Assumption merged with St. John the Baptist Church.
The Future of Saint John the Baptist
Immediately following the closing of the school in the Fall of 2006, a few dedicated parishioners during a sad time joined to help continue Catholic Education to parish children through the parish CCD Program. Today, the blessing of a Parish Religious Education Program (PREP) thrives and serves nearly 100 children in the parish, welcoming all elementary age students and those with special needs to become Catholic.
For more information or to become a part of our Catholic Future in Manayunk, or if you have been part of our collective past, join or rejoin us today, and register. -RW