Officially established in 1971 as a parish within the Diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, St John XXIII Parish is not a territorial parish but a linguistic one made up of nearly 100 different nationalities for whom English is a common tongue. Coming from so many different countries, its diverse community is a true microcosm of the universal Church! The Parish was based at the Pope John XXIII Centre in Petit-Saconnex from October 1982 until Feb 2013. It then moved to St. Nicolas de Flüe at rue de Montbrillant in March 2013 primarily to accommodate its increasing numbers. Its new premises now offer twice the amount of space (1,780 square meters) for worship, community gatherings, ministries, and religious education.
The origins of the Parish go back to 1956 when an English-speaking Catholic Chaplaincy in Geneva was established to provide for the spiritual needs of the growing English-speaking community that was drawn mainly from the international business sector, the expanding inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, and diplomatic representations to the United Nations. With the arrival of migrants from many parts of the developing world, the composition of the Parish has changed considerably in recent times.
St. Nicolas de Flüe Church
This important historic church (designed by Bouvier and V. and J.Malnati, 1967) was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and Pope John Paul II in 1982, and was originally home to the French-speaking parish of St. Nicolas de Flue. By mutual agreement and with the blessings of the Catholic Church of Geneva (ECR), the two parishes agreed to swap locations with St. Nicolas de Flüe Church and its adjoining Parish House becoming the new “home” of the English-speaking parish of Pope John XXIII in March 2013.
The Parish House
The Parish House beside St. Nicolas de Flüe Church was completely renovated in 2011-2012 to provide for the growing needs of Pope John XXIII Parish. It now has multi-purpose rooms totaling more than 500 sq. meters for religious education classes, ministry & prayer meetings, musical practices, sacramental preparation, and for rental to outside groups. It also offers accommodation for 2 priests, space for visiting clergy, and 7 desk spaces for full-time, part-time, and volunteer administrative support. It was officially inaugurated in June 2013 by Bishop Charles Morerod.