Our Parish is blessed to have such a long and vibrant history, spanning all the way back to the 1800's. We think of St. Malachi as our Mother Church--through her, all Catholic Churches in our area were born. Our Lady of Consolation is our home church, while the Schneider Parish Center, our newest, is where much of the work in our parish takes place.
[August 12, 1771] The death of young Thomas Maguire, “taken away lest wickedness should alter his mind or deceit beguile his soul.” Wis IV:II, and his burial in the present St. Malachi Cemetery, marks the spiritual foundation upon which Our Lady of Consolation Church was built.
[1792 - 1800] logs hauled to the site of the present St. Malachi for the eventual building of a Church.
 Father Reilly of St. Mary’s in Wilmington encourages the local families to pool their resources and talents to build a Church.
 The Diocese of Philadelphia grants permission for the erection of a Church at Doe Run. A building is erected on the Maguire farm next to the now growing cemetery under the direction of John Ferron.
[January 1, 1839] The first Mass is celebrated in St. Malachi's, the small un-plastered Church without seats, the Celebrant being Father James A. Miller, who later became a professor at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. The two glass cruciform candlesticks which today grace our altar were given to St. Malachi’s by Father Miller. Also at this time Fr Bernard McCabe was appointed the first pastor of St. Malachi’s, with missions In Coatesville and Parkesburg.
 Confirmation was conferred for the first time by Bishop Kenrick.
 The Seven Dolors Parish was canonically erected in Parkesburg on Strasburg Road at Limestone Road, under the leadership of Rev. John F. Pendergast. St.. Malachi’s now became a mission to the new Parkesburg parish.
 Confirmation was conferred at St. Malachi’s by St. John Neumann.
 Both St. Malachi’s In Doe Run and Seven Dolors in Parkesburg become missions of St. Cecilia’s In Coatesville, after the Church in Parkesburg was burnt down.
[February 1902] Seven Dolors Church in Parkesburg was re-established as an independent parish and the mission of St. Malachi returned to its jurisdiction with Fr. Joseph Sweeney as its Pastor. One Sunday was enough for him and he left disheartened by the conditions he found in both churches. The churches were transferred back to the care of St. Cecilia’s.
[June 1902] Fr. Thomas J. Sullivan was appointed Pastor of the Parkesburg parish and St. Malachi with only 32 families between them. They rallied around their Pastor to build a new Church next to the new Rectory on Chestnut St. in Parkesburg. With their bare hands and whatever contrivances they had at the time, they loaded the stones on railroad cars from the quarry in Pomeroy which were then brought to Parkesburg by train. The stones were then unloaded on to horse-drawn wagons and brought up the hill from the railroad to the site where the Church was built. After three years of intensive labor, they were ready. On October 8, 1905, the present Our Lady of Consolation Church was dedicated by Bishop Edmond F, Pendergast, Auxiliary to Archbishop Patrick John Ryan of Philadelphia, during the Pontificate of St. Pius X. However, on September 9, 1906, the Church mysteriously caught fire. Once again, the small congregation of less than 40 families supported their indefatigable Pastor, Fr. Sullivan, and the Church was rededicated on October 27, 1907.
[June 1924 - September 1951] Marks the long tenure of Rev. Dr. Simon Carr, Ph.D. who was transferred from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary where he had been a professor. Doctor Carr’s friendship with that most famousPhillies of all time, Connie Mack, saw him visit the Parish often to golf with the revered Pastor. But the pastor wasn’t all fun and games, he also saw to the renovation of St. Malachi’s in anticipation of its Centenary Celebration.
[September 4, 1938] Solemn High Mass and Benediction were celebrated by Dr. Carr on the 100th Anniversary of St. Malachi. Rev. Francis X. Wahl J.C.D., son of Sheriff Fred H. Wahl of West Chester, and the Rector of the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia preached the homily. The choir from Our Lady of Consolation Church in Parkesburg sang the Mass.
 Dr. Carr retired due to age and poor health and was replaced by Rev. Francis J. Walsh, Litt.D. as Pastor. Father Walsh is remembered as a tireless pastor who saw to both the restoration of the parish buildings and the building of the congregation through constant evangelization. Many of today’s members count themselves or their parents as “converts” of Fr. Walsh’s. Fr. Walsh also re-instituted scheduled Masses at St. Malachi’s three or four times a year. In June, 1963, the growing parish was saddened when it was announced that their Pastor had been transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Parish in Philadelphia.
[September 1952] Fr. Walsh offers the first regularly scheduled Mass at St. Malachi’s, which had been used at irregular intervals in the latter years of Dr. Carr’s pastorate. During Fr. Walsh’s pastorate Mass was celebrated 3 or 4 times a year at the little Church on the hill.
[June 6, 1963] Fr. Vincent G. McGartland was appointed to succeed Fr. Walsh as Pastor of Our Lady of Consolation Parish. Shortly after his appointment, Pr. McGartland petitioned Cardinal Kroll to close the Mission of St. Malachi due to the few congregants, but the Cardinal said he didn’t want to close any churches and recommended that Mass be celebrated at St. Malachi’s once a month. So, throughout his Pastorate, Fr. McGartland obediently celebrated Mass n the first Sunday of each month for a handful of families. By 1973, with his health in serious decline, the Chancery asked the recently appointed assistant pastor at St. Cecilia’s in Coatesville, Rev. George P. Schneider to assist Fr. McGartland with Sunday Masses.
[May 9, 1971] Calamity struck St. Malachi’s with the death of its long-time volunteer caretaker, William B. Shank. But the calamity was short-lived because his widow, Isabelle, and son, Thomas, took up the task until their deaths in 1976 and 1981, respectively.
[September 1974] Rev. George P. Schneider succeeds Fr. McGartland as Pastor, when Fr. McGartland has to retire to St. Joseph’s Villa in Darby due to his health. Shortly after his arrival, Fr. Schneider became the first Pastor in the long history of St. Malachi’s to initiate a weekly Mass at the Mission. Thus, began our regularly scheduled 10:30 A.M. Mass at St. Malachi. With the expansion in the number of weekend Masses, Fr. Schneider realized he would need help. His long experience in the education ministry as a professor at St. James High School in Chester, Pa., and Bishop Shanahan High School, then In West Chester, stood him In good stead. At St. James he taught the young football phenomenon, Charlie O’Hara, who would go on to play at Notre Dame. After graduation, Charlie left Notre Dame and entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. By the time Fr: Schneider came to Our Lady of Consolation, the now Fr. Charles O’Hara was a professor at Bishop Shanahan and chaplain at Villa St. John Vianney in Downingtown. He, like the rest of us, could not resist Fr. Schneider’s plea for help and so Fr. O’Hara came to be our Sunday Assistant for these almost 30 years, his tenure being greater even than the fabled Rev. Dr. Simon Carr.
[1974-93] Fr Schneider introduced novel innovations at St. Malachi’s—electricity and central heating. He oversaw the building of what has been named by acclamation as the Rev. George P. Schneider Parish Center, not far from the site of the original Seven Dolors Church His Pastorate was marked by a gentle, caring attitude that welcomed people and thus our parish grew in numbers and holiness. In his 75th year, Father -Schneider reluctantly, but obediently, accepted mandatory retirement.
[July 7, 1993] Rev. Victor J. Eschbach was installed as Pastor of Our Lady of Consolation, just as the parish was experiencing extraordinary growth thanks to the ministry of Fr. Schneider, but also due to the growth of housing In the area that are bringing many young families to our parish. Father was faced with some daunting tasks upon his arrival, but his blessing came when Fr. Schneider’s plan for retirement to his family home didn’t quite work out as expected and Fr. Eschbach found a house across the street from the Rectory for Fr. Schneider to live in, while sharing meals in the Rectory. The calming presence and holiness of life of our Pastor Emeritus helped the new Pastor stabilize himself and address the tasks at hand. Father Schneider’s body finally failed to sustain his soaring spirit and he had to retire to Villa St. Joseph in Darby in 2002, at the age of 84, and though he is too frail to be with us physically today, we can truly trust his prayers are with us.
[July 7, 1993] Rev. Victor J. Eschbach was installed as Pastor of Our Lady of Consolation, with the retirement of Fr. Schneider, His first inspection of St. Malachi’s revealed a not-all- together healthy bellying of the eastern portion of the roof. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed there were 6 broken beams and 7 cracked beams and the roof was close to collapsing. This necessitated the installation of steel struts and braces and replacing the too- heavy slate roof. The worshipping community of St. Malachi’s generously supported these necessary repairs to their little Church.
 After witnessing the wilting of brides and the melting of grooms, Fr. Eschbach introduced a couple of novel innovations of his own at St. Malachi’s — air-conditioning and a port-a-potty.
[1996-2003] Sadness dawned on St. Malachi’s once again with the death of the last of our pump organ players, Anna Ferron Edwards, a granddaughter of one of the original founders of St. Malachi’s. But these years also saw a couple more novelties Introduced at St. Malachi’s—a well dug, in-door plumbing introduced, but the greatest novelty of all was introduced with the arrival of the retired Pastor of St. Charles Parish in Philadelphia—Fr. John Van de Paer, C.I.C.M.—who oversaw the restoration of St. Malachi’s to a pristine beauty that would make its builders—the Maguire Family, John and Henry Ferron, and Fergus McLea—most proud. And the beat goes on! And on! And on! To the greater glory of God!
[1993-Present] With a small but very supportive and dedicated staff, great Pastoral Councils and Finance Committees, and a most generous and long-suffering congregation, helping, supporting, encouraging, and sometimes correcting, chastising, but always loving him and their Church, the Pastor has seen to the repair, replacement, or installation of heaters, air-conditioning, windows and roofs on one or another of all our parish buildings. All of this work was given an atomic boost with the arrival of Father John Van de Paer, C.LC.M. in 1996. Having retired as Pastor Emeritus of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in South Philadelphia after 42 years, Father John came for a visit and wore us all out with his energy. He personally took on the task of restoring St. Malachi’s—plastering, painting, sanding, refinishing floors, and building new doors. Along with all this, even in his upper 80's, he preached dynamic homilies, called us all to justice, and occasionally tried to poison the pastor with his cooking.
During these years, we have worked at the reduction of our parish debt through increased stewardship and all kinds of fund-raising from drawings to craft fairs to dinners to carnivals to bingo and several hugely successful Auctions and Galas.
During this period our parish grew from 850 households to more than 1,100; from just under 2,000 members to almost 3,000, with almost half of that growth being children of pre-school and school age. Along with this growth came a need for more services to accommodate the various needs of our growing Parish Family, We've seen the birth of a pre-school and kindergarten, Life Teen, and now, Life Teen JV. Our Bible study, R.C.I.A. and R.C.I.T. programs, pre-Jordan, and pre-Cana programs grow year by year. Our Bereavement Ministry has become one of the greatest sources of comfort in our parish to those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Our choirs and music ministries are unparalleled in excellence. Lastly, restoring our Church Hall has provided a proper gathering site at the Church for special events.
Our Lady of Consolation Church 603 West Second Avenue Parkesburg, PA 19365