Welcome to St. Teresa's!

About Our Parish
The first record of the establishment of St. Teresa’s Parish is a deed recorded in the office of the Union County Clerk, dated June 8, 1863, conveying the land owned by George and Mary Ann Manley to Bishop Bayley of the Diocese of Newark.  The cornerstone of the Church was laid in 1863.  The tiny stone building remained a mission of St. Vincent’s in Madison, New Jersey, for ten years. 

The incorporation of the Church took place on October 15, 1864, the feast of St. Teresa of Avila.  Summit was constituted a separate parish in 1874 with Rev. W.M. Wigger, later Bishop of Newark, appointed its first resident pastor.   One of the first acts of Father Wigger was to erect a small school building.  In 1881, the Sisters of Charity arrived to staff the school.

In 1886, the cornerstone was laid for the second Church, with parent Church annexed and used as a sacristy.  Rev. Giovanni Vassallo, pastor for thirty years officiated.  A brick school was built in 1905 by our third pastor, Rev. Walter Purcell.  The previous school building was moved and became our convent.

The laying of the cornerstone for the third and present Church took place in 1924 with Rev. Michael J. Glennon as pastor.  The second Church was moved and is presently known as Memorial Hall.  The new rectory was dedicated during the pastorate of Msgr. George Smith in 1961.

In 1973, the Sisters of Charity withdrew their teaching staff and a lay staff took over the running of the school until the school closed in 1982.  The Felician sisters joined the staff in 1982 to run Religious Education Program until 1997.

In June, 1996 Rev. Msgr. Robert E. Harahan was appointed pastor undertaking a long and extensive renovation of our beautiful historic church and grounds as well as opening a Pre-School & Kindergarten in 2001.  St. Teresa’s welcomed its current Pastor, Father Brian Plate in June, 2008. 

At the present time, there are approximately 3,700 families registered as parishioners.


About St. Teresa


Born in Avila, Spain, on March 28, 1515, St. Teresa was the daughter of a Toledo merchant.  She led a fairly ordinary life, but of mischievous personality, she was convinced that she was a horrible sinner. As a teenager, she cared only about boys and clothes and flirting and rebelling -- like other teenagers throughout the ages. When she was 16, her father decided she was out of control and sent her to a convent. At first she hated it but eventually she began to enjoy it -- partly because of her growing love for God, and partly because the convent was a lot less strict than her father.

When the time came for her to choose between marriage and religious life she finally chose the convent, she did so because she thought that it was the only safe place for someone as prone to sin as she was.

In the convent she started to learn and practice mental prayer, in which she "tried as hard as I could to keep Jesus Christ present within me…." Teresa prayed this way off and on for eighteen years without feeling that she was getting results.

Then Teresa fell ill with malaria. Afterwards she was paralyzed for three years and was never completely well. Her weakened physical and mental health made prayer difficult for her so she stopped. 

When she was 41, a priest convinced her to go back to her prayer.  She still found it difficult but persevered and eventually God gave her spiritual delights: the prayer of quiet where God's presence overwhelmed her senses, raptures where God overcame her with glorious foolishness, prayer of union where she felt the sun of God melt her soul away. Sometimes her whole body was raised from the ground.

At the age of 43, she founded a new convent, St. Joseph’s, that went back to the basics of a contemplative order: a simple life of poverty devoted to prayer. To her, spiritual life was an attitude of love, not a rule. Although she proclaimed poverty, she believed in work, not in begging. She believed in obedience to God more than penance. If you do something wrong, don't punish yourself -- change. Teresa believed that the most powerful and acceptable prayer was prayer that leads to action.

At 51, she felt it was time to spread her reform movement. She is the founder of the Discalced Carmelites. St. Teresa died on October 4 at the age of 67. In 1970 she was declared a Doctor of the Church for her writing and teaching on prayer, one of three women to be honored in this way.

St. Teresa is the patron saint of headache sufferers. Her symbol is a heart, an arrow, and a book. She was canonized in 1622. 





Located at 306 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, we are a welcoming Catholic community of 3700 families called by God to live out the message of Christ in love and service to all people.

For 150 years St. Teresa’s membership has been, in the words of our patroness, the “hands and feet” of God.  As per our parish mission statement, together we respond to God’s Word through worship, community, and service to our parish family and to others in need. 

St. Teresa’s is part of the Archdiocese of Newark of the Roman Catholic Church.  We are blessed with two beautiful churches on our campus where you can join us in daily Masses.  We also have a full range of religious education opportunities, including pre-school and Kindergarten classes in our own school, a 1,500 student Religious Education program for youth, and a variety of offerings for adults.

Please visit our Participate segment to see all the different ways in wish you can join in.

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