The Founders' Chapel where the first two pastors of the parish, Rev. Michael McCabe and his brother Rev. Luke McCabe are buried.
Rev. Luke McCabe, the second pastor of Saint Matthias Church
Saint Matthias Parish was founded by Archbishop John Ryan on February 2, 1906. The first Mass was celebrated by Father Michael McCabe, the founding Pastor, on February 2 at the Lonergan home, Union Avenue and Conshohocken State Road.
Following the generous gift of property on Bryn Mawr Avenue at Highland from John E. Lonergan, ground was broken and the cornerstone for the new parish church was laid on October 7, 1906. The Church and Rectory were Designed by George I. Lovatt and was the first example in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of the monastery church style of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries.
The Church was dedicated on November 8, 1908 by Archbishop Ryan. The Church was renovated in 1931 at which time the mural paintings were placed there.
The parish school and convent for the Sisters of Mercy were later built in the same picturesque architectural style, lending themselves particularly to the beautiful suburban area. The school was opened in 1915 consisting of six grades. The total enrollment at that time was 19 pupils taught by two Sisters of Mercy.
A new parish school building and a combination gymnasium / cafeteria / social hall were built in 1970. Over Christmas vacation in December 1970, furniture, supplies, and books were moved from the original school into the new building. Classes in the new school building began in January 1971. The original school building was demolished and the site is now used for parking.
The Church was extensively renovated between 1998 - 1999. From Christmas 1998 to Easter 1999 the church was closed and Mass was celebrated in the parish center. During this renovation, among other things, the sanctuary was expanded, the church painted, the electrical system was updated, the lighting system was replaced, and new sanctuary furniture was donated.
After 84 wonderful years, the parish school was closed June 1999 due to rising costs and declining enrollment. The children of the parish, however, continued to learn the Faith in neighboring parish schools and in our own PREP (Parish Religious Education Program). The Sisters of Mercy, who staffed the school since its founding, remained active in parish events and continued to live in the convent until 2015.
The first floor of the former school building was renovated (2000) to serve as a parish center. A new handicapped accessible entrance was added to the front of the building. A large room was designed for large meetings and parish social events. Two other rooms have been designed to serve as meeting rooms. A small kitchen was installed to provide services for social events held in the Parish Center. Seven small classrooms were made to serve the needs of the parish CCD program.
In 2006 the parish celebrated its 100th anniversary. Events included a Centenary Mass, dinner, and school reunion.
Of course our parish history cannot be reduced to buildings and special events. Most importantly it is found in God's love and grace experienced by generations of parishioners through each other, prayer, the Sacraments, and the teachings of Jesus Christ.