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St. Patrick Church Continued from Page 49

Photo by Chris Barber

Father Rogers consecrates the elements in the park for Mass.

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with other borough churches, including service to the food cupboard and Family Promise. “In a small town, the spirit of the Lord can start as caring for the poor, Thanksgiving Day together or a parade,” he said. “[Religious] distinctions don’t define who we are.” St. Patrick was originally founded by Irish Catholics who came to America to work in DuPont’s Hagley plant. In time, more people from Ireland moved to Kennett Square to work at the S&M Pennock Company that made farm and industrial machinery. In search of housing, many of them settled on the south side of Kennett Square and started having services in people’s houses. They were served by clergy from St. Agnes Church in West Chester, who came on horseback to provide mission Masses, according to Williams, whose ancestor, a Mr. DeWire, was one of the founders. Through the years arrived workers from Italy, who came to mine the stone in Avondale, then farmers who grew mushrooms and the labor force that came from Puerto Rico and Mexico to pick them. A large number of these workers brought with them a Catholic heritage. In 1868, the original settlers set out to build a church on land where the current S-curve of South Street bends at Lafayette. Although the building wasn’t completed, they celebrated their first Mass on Christmas of 1869, and thus began what has become the second largest Catholic congregation in Chester County 150 years later, with a mix of Continued on Page 52

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Kennett Square Life Summer/Fall 2019  

Kennett Square Life Summer/Fall 2019