About Us

Our Mission

As the "mother Catholic church" of University City and West Philadelphia, we seek to extend the loving care of God to everyone—students and non-students; local residents and visitors; Catholics and non-Catholics. Our doors are open to all who choose to embrace Christ with us. 

Our Story

St. James was the first Catholic Church on the west side of the Schuylkill River, founded 1850. St. Agatha, 3813 Spring Garden Street,  was founded shortly thereafter in 1865.  In 1976 after St. Agatha suffered a second fire the two churches were incorporated into St. Agatha-St. James. 

The Newman Center

We are home to the Alpha Newman Center – the first Newman Center in the United States founded in 1893 as the Newman Center of the University of Pennsylvania. This was followed by the Drexel Newman Center at 33 S. 33rd Street. When the Drexel Newman Center closed, our Newman Catholic Center became home to all local university students.


Meet the Staff