Parish History

The History of Saint Richard Catholic Church

Our Beginnings

Summer 1949

  • Children gathered for religious instruction in Manheim at the home of George and Helen Ayrscott.
  • A Catholic Women’s Club was formed with 20 members, meeting at Joseph Gondel’s workshop.

February 1951

  • Sisters from Saint Anne Catholic Church in Lancaster came to teach religion to our children.

November 22, 1953

  • Father Cletus A. Hauck, pastor from Saint Peter Catholic Church in Elizabethtown, came to celebrate the first Mass at the Union Hall in Manheim. There were 122 people in attendance.


  • Harry M. Witmyer, a prominent non-Catholic, donated the land on which our church was built. Joseph Gondel, Harry’s son-in-law, was a parishioner of our church.


Our Church is Formed

December 2, 1956

  • Ground was broken for the construction of Saint Richard Catholic Church and Social Hall.

Our church under construction – May 5, 1957


November 3, 1957

  • The church was solemnly blessed and dedicated by Bishop Leech of Harrisburg. Our church is named Saint Richard in memory of Richard M. Reilly of Lancaster, whose daughter, Alice Barry Reilly, donated $25,000 from her estate. Saint Richard Catholic Church was a Mission of Saint Peter Catholic Church in Elizabethtown under the guidance of their priest. The church was completed at a cost of just under $80,000.

February 3, 1967

  • Father Dale G. Sneeringer was appointed the first administrator of our Mission.

September 1971 to June 1998

  • The Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales provided our Parish with priests.


  • Parish Council was formed.

June 2, 1978

  • Bishop Daley decreed that Saint Richard Mission was established as the Parish of Saint Richard Catholic Church.

February 1979

  • The Parish House was built including classrooms for religious education.

January 23, 1983

  • The 25th Anniversary was celebrated by a special mass followed by a dinner at a local restaurant.

Early 1980s

  • Various renovations were made to the church – including refinishing the pews, acquiring new altar furnishings, repainting the church and installing new carpet.

1995 & 1996

  • More renovations were made – new plaster walls in the church, the current stained class windows were obtained and installed, and air conditioning was added.

June 1997

  • Installed new lights in the church.

November 16, 1997

  • Our 40th Anniversary was celebrated by a special mass.

Summer of 2000

  • The Memory Garden was built.

Spring of 2003

  • The garage was built onto the Parish House.

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