The parish of St. Martha was founded June 8, 1966 to ease the overburden of the existing parishes serving the population of the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia.
The first Mass was celebrated in St. Anselm’s lower church on June 19, 1966 by Reverend George J. Dougherty, the founding pastor. All Masses were subsequently held at this location until another place of worship was obtained. In October of 1966, realizing the need to be independent and self-supporting, Father obtained the use of Archbishop Ryan High School’s auditorium. Mass was celebrated there until the completion of St. Martha Church in late 1967. The children of St. Martha parish continued to attend the schools they were previously attending until the school was completed. St. Martha Parish School opened its doors to students for the first time on September 6, 1967. The school was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy as well as dedicated lay teachers. The sisters were instrumental in establishing many of the existing student organizations and school traditions. Student Council was instituted in the late 1970’s while many of the school traditions were established in the 1980’s, such as Penny Walk, Pumpkin Face Contest, and Red and White spirit days. In July, 1992, the Sisters of Mercy ended their ministry at St. Martha Parish School and administrative duties were assumed by Ms. Donna Satkowski. Mrs. Donofry is the current principal of St. Martha Parish School.
A computer lab was established in 1987. It has undergone several updates, the most recent being in the fall of 2002. A completely wireless network system and T-1 line was installed in the summer of 2002 allowing for internet access in the computer lab, principal’s office and each classroom. In the same year, a Connelly PACT grant provided 16 laptops, a laser printer and extensive staff development for the faculty. Through the money raised as a Connelly challenge grant, a second cart of 16 laptops was completed in the fall of 2003.
Recognizing the need to provide early childhood education for the parish children, two kindergarten classes were opened in September, 1997.
The CCD Program began in the fall of 1972 through the efforts of Reverend Joseph T. Kane. The first program director was Mrs. Anna O’Brien. Upon her retirement in 1996, a Director of Religious Education was hired. That position is presently held by Mr. Arthur Calvo.
In the history of the parish/school, there have been several pastors assigned to the parish. Upon the retirement of Father Gerard Scherf in 1996, the Franciscan Friars assumed the pastoral ministry of the parish with Father James Gannon OMF and then Father John Puodziunas OMF serving as pastors. In July of 2002, the Franciscans ended their ministry at St. Martha Parish and Reverend Alexander Masluk, a diocesan priest, was appointed as pastor.
On September 28, 2003, the parish began the groundbreaking of the new multipurpose hall/gym. This building serves the physical education needs of the students as well as the needs of adult parishioners.
I feel comfortable sending my girls here every day knowing that each and every one of the faculty will take care of them like they were their own. I also love the no bullying environment. All the students care about each other.
Katie Glanzmann ~ SMS Parent