St. Peter, Merchantville

The Merchantville Catholic community worshipped at Immaculate Conception Church in Camden until Mass was offered in Merchantville in the home of Frederick Gerker around 1857, with a priest coming from Philadelphia on an irregular basis. On September 29, 1903, Father Patrick J. Clune was sent to open the new parish at Merchantville. He took up residence at the home of Francis A. Cunningham. Sunday Mass was offered in Merchantville Hall and daily Mass at the Cunningham home. Later, daily Mass was offered at the Burleigh home when Father Clune was in residence there. Another location for daily Mass was, subsequently, at the home of John Masson at West Maple and Morris Avenues.

The present church, enlarged in 1957, was first dedicated in April 1908. The cornerstone of the school was laid in September 1926, and the Sisters of St. Francis of Allegany arrived in September 1928 to staff the school. The Franciscan Sisters withdrew in 1963 and were succeeded by the Religious Teachers Filippini. The present rectory was acquired in 1950, the school addition made in 1951, the new convent erected in 1963 and Monsignor Fallon Parish Hall completed in 1981. The Friends of the Sacred Heart began as a small group of Catholic laymen meeting to pray in St. Peter's Church during the Second World War. Subsequent events brought them to thier present diocesan-wide activity.


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