Development of the Catholic Faith in Berks County

Reading and Berks County Catholic Faith Timeline

 

Total # of records: 265

1748
City of Reading Founded

1752
Catholic chapel built on the east side of Duke Street, now Seventh Street, between Franklin and Chestnut Streets, just opposite the site of the old Franklin Street Railroad Station owned by the Reading Railroad.

1756
That there was a chapel already erected in 1756 is evinced by the will of Peter Bingaman, recorded amongst Berks County records, in which Mr. Bingaman devises to his son-ln-law, John Adam Horner: "my house in Reading, opposite the Roman Catholic Church."

1766
Father de Ritter from the mission-centre in Goshenhoppen in 1766 speaks of "a chapel, along-side which was the graveyard, was a little block house on the east side of Duke (now South Seventh ) Street between Franklin and Chestnut Streets. "The first baptismal record is of Margaret Miller, baptized July 14, 1765, by Father de Ritter. The first death record is that of Anna Maria Chaumont, "buried in Catholic graveyard. Reading, November 11, 1765." A year later on May 11, 1766 he baptized "a child of Lewtis and Felicitas, married slaves of Judge Jonas Seeli (Jonas Seety).

1770
In Sammy Weiser's list of lot holders, made in 1770, lot number 821, as well as lots 819 and 820 are mentioned as having been "selected by Mr. Snyder for the Catholic Church."

1790
Original chapel demolished and replaced by a small brick church.

9 / 17 / 1791
Cornerstone laid for Reading Chapel. The "Readinger Zeitung," (a German paper) on August 10, 1791, stated in way of an advertisement: "The honored public is hereby Informed that the corner-stone of the new Catholic Church in Reading will, according to Christian custom, be laid with due solemnity on the 17th day of August next. Friends and well-wishers who desire to witness same are invited to attend."

4 / 30 / 1818
St. Peter's church was incorporated under the title of "The Trustees and Members of St. Peter's Church in the Borough of Reading".

3 / 25 / 1828
W. S. Allgaier organized a Catholic Sunday School for 62 Children. They first met in the Madeira Public School and later in the church parsonage on South Seventh Street.

3 / 1836
A committee was appointed to consider ways and means of enlarging St. Peter's church, as it had become inadequate for the worshippers.

1844
A property at 324 South Fifth Street was purchased for a new and larger St. Peter's church.

1845
The church and graveyard on South Seventh Street were sold to Jacob Miller for $3,000.

5 / 24 / 1846
The newly built Saint Peter's Church was solemnly dedicated.

1859
St. Peter's parish school completed at 225-227 South 5th Strret. Initially there were separate schools for boys and girls, and 400 children were enrolled.

1860
Archbishop Neumann decided that a separation of St. Peter's parish was advisable. English speaking parishioners would remain at St. Peter's; German speaking parishioners would be formed into new parish of St. Paul's

5 / 1860
Rev. Charles Schrader sent to Reading to build St. Paul's church. He resided at St. Peter's church while formulating plans for the new church.

8 / 8 / 1860
Ground breaking for new St. Paul's church

9 / 6 / 1860
Cornerstone placed at St. Paul's church. Father Bally was in attendance.

6 / 1861
St. Paul's building completed & solemnly dedicated. Original dimensions 60 x 120 feet with a steeple 120 feet high. Ceiling height is 40 feet.

1865
Rev Gustav Wallmyer succeeds Fr. Schrader as pastor of St. Paul's.

2 / 1867
Fr. Wallmyer, rector of St. Paul's church, died of typhoid fever. Succeeded by Rev. George Bornemann

1869
Fr. Bornemann began erection of St. Paul's school. Cornerstone of new school building is laid.

1869
St. Paul's church enlarged from 60 x 120 feet to 60 x 162 feet and a 200 foot steeple was erected.

1870
St. Paul's school completed & dedicated by Bishop Wood. 400 children are enrolled under the direction of the Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

1871
New rectory built at St. Paul's. Professor Erasmus Duppius, a lay teacher, begins a 44 year career as organist and teacher in the higher grades.

3 / 30 / 1871
All of the burials in the original St. Peter's cemetery were removed to the new Catholic Cemetery on Neversink Mountian ("Nanty Goat Hill"), and the lots where the original Catholic chapel stood were sold by Bishop Wood to A. I. Hain for $8000.

1872
Fr. Bornemann, pastor of St. Paul's, visited Germany

1872
Amid a smallpox epidemic Fr. Bornemann buys a two-story building at 12th and Walnut Streets from the Vollmer Estate suitable for a hospital. The site was ideal, located on the mountain for breezes, with its own vineyard, fruit orchard, and spring. The Sisiters of St. Francis, Glen Riddle facilitated the hospital.

1873
Founding of St. Joseph's Hospital, the first institution of its kind in Reading. Sisters of St. Francis assumed charge of this institution. The hospital accommodated six female and six male patients, with men on the first floor, and women on the second, and was dedicated to St. Joseph.

1875
Fr. Bornemann, rector of St. Paul's Church, desiring to preserve the German language and customs, brings Sisters Cassiana, Alma, Materna, Corona, Fabiana and Beata of the Sisters of Christian Charity to Reading. A lay teacher, Miss Stewart, taught them the English language.

1878
St. Paul's school children show an aptitude for both German and English in oral examinations. Typical School day begins with Mass at 7:30 A.M. Classes to 11:00 A.M. Lunch to 1:00 PM. Classes for lower grades to 3:30 PM., for upper grades to 4:00 P.M. Examinations are oral, conducted twice a year by the priests and lasting as long as two weeks.

1879
Chime of bells added to St. Paul's steeple

1880
Fr. Bornemann, rector of St. Paul's church, dedicates Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius which he built and paid for and presented to the Slavonic people of Reading. It is located at 6th and Laurel Sts. in Reading.

1882
Rt. Rev. Monsignor Bornemann, rector of St. Paul's church, lays the cornerstone for a new and larger St. Joseph's Hospital.

1882
St. Paul's convent erected for Sisters of Christian charity.

1884
New St. Joseph's Hospital dedicated by his Grace, Most. Rev. P. Ryan, D.D., Archbishop of Philadelphia. It was in this year also on the 19th of March, the feast of St. Joseph, that Rt. Rev. Monsignor Bornemann blessed the statue of St. Joseph and placed it in the nich above the entrance at the Hospital.

1884
Fr. Bornemann is named Secretary of the Commission of the Faith and permanent Rector of St. Paul's.

5 / 1885
Newly reconstructed St. Paul's church dedicated by Bishop Ryan

1886
Present dimension of St. Paul's church 60 x 162 feet. These improvements completed in 1884. Architecture is Romanesque in style and the interior ceiling and walls are elaborately decorated with fresco-work and oil paintings. The new stained glass windows are especially attractive; each one of the windows has groups of figures representing scenes from the Holy Scripture. They were imported from Innsbruck, Tyrol.

1886
Fr. Bornemann is first to be named to the newly formed Diocesan School Board.

1886
Over 3000 parishioners now comprise St. Paul's Parish.

1886
An old lady who had known the first primitive chapel was called upon to embody her recollections in a written description but she was so distressed by the disturbance to divine service caused by the rail-road tracks recently Iaid upon the fastidious thorough-fare of Seventh Street that she would talk of little else and the opportunity to secure some valuable data concerning the early Roman Catholic Church in Reading was lost forever.

10 / 3 / 1886
The cornerstone was laid for St. Joseph's church at the junction of 8th and 9th streets. His Grace the Most Rev. Archbishop Ryan officiated at cornerstone laying ceremony.

9 / 1887
St. Joseph's Church dedicated. Archbishop Ryan officiated at the dedication ceromony.

1888
Fr. Bornemann, rector of St. Paul's church, buys property at 12th and Spruce Sts. and helps open St. Mary's Parish.

1 / 1888
Father Victor M. Lebiecki was appointed assistant at St. Paul's. Father Lebiecki took on the task of establishing St. Mary's Parish and its first church, which became the basement of the present church. Supposedly, there were 300 souls in Reading's Polish community; however, only 180 of them were financially supportive of the proposed venture, which called for the immediate building of a church approximately the size of St. Paul's. It quickly became apparent that the larger church would have to wait.

5 / 1888
Application made for the establishment of a House of Good Shepherd in Reading. A member of St. Peter's parish in Reading gave two acres of land to aid the foundation, but this tract was too far from the city to be utilized. It was finally decided to secure another property and the Leippe residence at 4th and Pine streets was purchased for $18,000.

10 / 8 / 1888
Once the basement was dug for St. Mary's church, a cornerstone-laying ceremony was arranged. A rough floor, which had been laid temporarily over the basement for the ceremony, gave way as the corner-stone laying ceremony for the new church was nearing its end precipitating many persons into the cellar. The rough floor, which had been laid temporarily, was crowded by some 1,500 persons, and nearly 400 square feet of the flooring near the central portion had suddenly fallen. One woman was killed and many people were injured as they fell into the basement. This tragedy greatly affected Father Lebiecki and he left Reading in November, 1888. Father Lebiecki was succeeded as assistant at St. Paul's by Father Mark Januszkiewicz, who oversaw the repairs to the basement church of St. Mary's. This basement church probably took up the same space now occupied by the chapel and the meeting room.

1889
Old Leippe Mansion at 4th and Pine Sts. is purchased to construct a home for girls - the first House of Good Shepherd.

3 / 5 / 1889
House of the Good Shepherd at 4th and Pine streets opened. First Mass said on March 6th.

4 / 1889
Father Januszkiewicz was named the first pastor of St. Mary's. He arrived in Reading in November, 1888. He built the original rectory for St. Mary's at 236 South 12th Street (the present parking lot on the left side of the current church). Father Januszkiewicz lived on the second floor of the Rectory; the first floor served as a school.

4 / 28 / 1889
Dedication services held at St. Mary's Catholic church for the completion of the basement and structure, but it would take ten years before the main auditorium and roof were completed. During this time, the congregation of 300 members used the new basement of the edifice for school and church services. The edifice occupied a lot 60 by 100 feet and is built of stone and brick.

1890
Fr. Bornemann, rector of St. Paul's church, celebrates his Silver Jubilee (25 years a priest) with reception at Grand Opera House. Major address by. George F. Baer.

1892
Large annex built to St. Paul's convent

1893
New addition to St. Joseph's Hospital completed and dedicated by Most Rev. P. Ryan, D.D. Among apartments added was is the beautiful, most artistically wrought, chapel.

1894
Fr. Bornemann, rector of St. Paul's church, starts orphan asylum for boys next to the convent of St. Paul's.

1894
Fr. Bornemann donates land for St. Michael's Seminary in Hyde park. The Seminary had been a boarding school for girls under the will of Henry Felix. This project was later abandoned. The Seminary was changed into a sanitarium for female religious at a cost of $30,000 largely ascribed to Father Bomemann. The site was later turned over to Missionary Sisters of Sacred Heart from Germany, and it later became their mother house. Father Bornemann later bought an adjoining farm and gave it to the Missionary Fathers of the Sacred Heart for use as a seminary.

1894
Fr. Bornemann purchases 54 acres in Hyde Park for the creation of a county-wide resting place for Catholics - Gethsemane Cemetery.

1894
Father Matthias Tarnowski became pastor of St. Mary's. Before coming to St. Mary's, he was the founding pastor of St. Casimir Parish in Mahanoy City (1893-94).

8 / 1894
Father Januszkiewicz left St. Mary's to become the pastor of the then-combined Polish parishes of McAdoo-Mahanoy City.

1895
St. Cecelia's Chapel, a beautiful brownstone edifice at Perkiomen Avenue and Spruce Street, was built by Theodore I. Heizmann in memory of his mother - Mary Cecelia Heizmann. Ceremonies of dedication were in charge of Fr. Bornemann with Solemn Mass celebrated by Rev. Dr. J. J. Koch, Vicar General of the Harrisburg Diocese. The pews were made of quartered oak and accommodated 300 people. The side windows were made in Munich, Germany, and the vestments were made in Lyons, France.

1895
Father Tarnowski exchanged places with Father Adalbert Malusecki, a future pastor of St. Mary's.

1895
Father Malusecki was appointed pastor of St. Mary's. He added two classrooms in the basement of the church structure to relieve the overcrowding in the school housed on the first floor of the Rectory.

11 / 22 / 1895
The cornerstone of a new and larger House of Good Shepherd was laid by Archbishop Ryan. A piece of ground 330 x 400 feet, valued at $3000, situated at Glenside, Bern Township, at the edge of the Schuykill Avenue Bridge, was donated by Rev. Father Bornemann, rector of St. Paul's church, for its construction.

6 / 1899
After ten years' waiting for the completion of St. Mary's church, Father Malusecki called a parish meeting, and with nearly all at the meeting in favor, it was decided to begin operations to finish the church. At this time, one hundred and twenty or more children of the parish attended school in the basement, but they had been dismissed for their summer vacation. The congregation had increased to 400 families.

1900
Fr. Bornemann visited Germany. Farwell reception held; handsome sum of money presented him for his trip.

1900
Rebuilding of St. Peter's began. Nothing was left of the old structure except the brick side-walls, which form the backing of the present edifice.

1900
The House of the Good Shepherd is dedicated on land donated by Fr. Bornemann.

6 / 21 / 1900
Modern $180,000 House of Good Shepherd dedicated. From 1900-1915 over 2,500 girls of "unfortunate circumstances" were housed at the home maintained by the Magdalene Sisters.

6 / 24 / 1900
A ceremony was held to dedicate the completed St. Mary's Catholic Church.

4 / 1901
The cornerstone of the St. Peter's Church was laid. The cornerstone is of granite and bears the following inscription in raised letters: Founded 1752, Erected 1845, Enlarged 1870, Rebuilt 1900.

1902
The formal opening of a new parish house for St. Peter's took place on Thanksgiving day with a reception held during the afternoon and evening. The house, at 320 South 5th, was a gift of the O'Reilly estate. The entire building was remodeled.

1904
Fr. Bornemann buys old Reformed Church at Schuylkill Ave, and Green Sts. and refits it as Catholic Church for Italian Catholics in Holy Rosary Parish.

4 / 8 / 1904
Rev. James E. Cleary, pastor of St. Peter's, who was in failing health for days, fell gravely ill. In a letter of Father Cleary's, he tells of his return from Europe in 1903, of his contracting a illness. His illness puzzled the physicians. Several times he had been believed to be dying, and just as often has he rallied. Masses were offered every day and the church was occupied almost continually from early morning until late at night by people praying for him. On the same day Rev. James E. Cleary, passed away to his eternal reward.

4 / 12 / 1904
A permit by the Board of Health, requested by George J. Gross, in behalf of the congregation of St. Peter's Catholic Church, was granted for the interment of the body of Rev. James E. Cleary, alongside the church, almost under the main tower. The request was unanimously granted.

10 / 1904
The Church of the Holy Rosary was solemnly dedicated. The dedication ceremony was performed, by Monsignor Falconio, representative of the Pope In America.

10 / 2 / 1904
The cornerstone was laid for a 12-room parochial school behind St. Mary's Church in what is now the rear parking lot behind the church. The building front was on Wunder St. and extended out to Spruce.

10 / 2 / 1904
Church of the Holy Rosary at Schuylkill Avenue and Green Street was solemnly dedicated.

1905
St. Joseph's Hospital Nurses' Home dedicated by his Grace, Arch-bishop Prendergast.

7 / 2 / 1905
New St. Peter's Church solemnly dedicated by Cardinal Gibbons. All that was utilized of the old structure was the roof and side walls. The design was largely after suggestions by Father Cleary, who spent years in its selection, visiting numerous churches in this country and Europe in search of the best.

1906
Fr. Bornemann assists the Bernardine Sisters to build and establish a convent and orphanage at Millmont (present site of Alvernia University).

1906
Fr. Bornemann rebuilds St. Mary's Church at Hamburg at his own expense.

1906
Fr. Bornemann establishes Gethsemane Cemetery.

1906
Fr. Bornemann donates 17 acres of land and the Neversink Mountain Hotel to the Berks County Tuberculosis Society (this landmark was destroyed by fire as he sought to convert it into a sanitarium and hospital).

9 / 4 / 1906
St. Joseph's opens a parochial school with an enrollment of 160 pupils.

1907
St. Paul's parochial school rebuilt at a cost of $25,000.

1907
New heating system installed in St. Paul's church properties

8 / 13 / 1907
Rev. Gesualdo Paonessa, first Pastor of Holy Rosay Parish, is succeeded by Rev. Vito Nicola Varalli.

1908
New Rectory completed for St. Mary's church.The old Rectory became the Convent for the Felician Sisters (prior to that, the Sisters lived at 316 South 12th Street, which later became the home of Clara Kowalski).

9 / 1 / 1909
Rev. Vito Nicola Varalli, second Pastor of Holy Rosay Parish, is succeeded by Rev. Antonio Orlando.

1910
Fr. Bornemann elevated to rank of Domestic Prelate with title of Monsignor.

8 / 3 / 1910
Rev. Eugene Marchetti, third Pastor of Holy Rosay Parish, is succeeded by Rev. Eugene Marchetti.

1913
St. Paul's steeple struck by lightning and declared unsafe. Msgr. Borenemann removed the spires & erected a plain gold cross on the square base of the tower.

1913
Msgr. Bornemann named Rural Dean of Berks County.

1913
Msgr. Bornemann contributes financially and spiritually to the founding of St. Anthony's Parish (8th and Bingaman Streets) for Lithuanian-speaking Catholics.

1913
Msgr. Bornemann assists in the opening of Reading Catholic High School at 225 South 5th Street at the two story structure that housed St. Peter's Elementary School. This school served Catholic teenagers until the founding of Holy Name High School in 1964.

1913
Msgr. Bornemann renovates former public school at 3rd and Franklin Sts, and presents it to Holy Rosary Church as a parochial school (later called Cabrini Academy). The former public school was built in 1868 and closed in 1908 as a public school. For a period it served as the Reading Public Library.

11 / 1913
Holy Rosary Church parochial school solemny dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Mgr. John Bonzano, of Washington, D. C., the apostolic delegate or personal representative of the Pope in America.

1914
St. Cyril and Methodius Church dedicated.

1914
Msgr. Bornemann contributes financially and spiritually to the founding of St. Anthony's Parish (Millmont) for Polish-speaking Catholics.

11 / 2 / 1914
New Holy Rosary School dedicated.

1915
Msgr. Bornemann supervises construction of school and church in Wyomissing and establishes Sacred Heart Parish with his nephew, Rev. Charles J. Bornemann, as pastor. Sacred Heart Parish was built on the grounds donated by the Wyomissing Industries, at High Boulevard in Wyomissing (now a parking lot for Vanity Fair).

1915
Msgr. Bornemann celebrates his Golden Jubilee (50 years a priest) - banquet at Berkshire Hotel at 5th and Washington Streets, attended by 500 including 2 bishops and 39 priests. Later a reception was held at the Hippodrome Theatre at 8th and Penn Streets. A committee chaired by Charles Vogel raised $50,000 ($1,000 for each year of Rev. Bornemann's pastorship) to apply to restoration and beautification of exterior of St. Paul's Church. Design based on village church in Germany that Msgr. Bornemann recently visited.

1915
Sacred Heart Parish established on the grounds donated by the Wyomissing Industries, at High Boulevard in Wyomissing (now a parking lot for Vanity Fair). Reverend Charles J. Bomemann, was named the first pastor.

1916
Two story annex to St. Paul's school is completed at cost o f $12,000.

1916
Monsignor George Bornemann, pastor of St. Paul's Church in Reading secured a plot of ground at the southwest corner of Eighth and Hill Avenues in Wyomissing for the establishment of Sacred Heart Parish.

7 / 8 / 1917
His Excellency, Archbishop Edmund F. Prendergast of Philadelphia appointed Monsignor George Bornemann's nephew, the Reverend Charles J. Bornemann, as the first pastor of a new parish dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Sacred Heart Church was officially founded.

7 / 7 / 1919
A ceremony was held to dedicate the completed two-story combination church and school building of Sacred Heart Parish. Archbishop Dougherty officiated at the dedication ceremony.

2 / 8 / 1920
To accommodate the growing population in the northwest section of the city, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Dennis Dougherty, establishes St. Margaret's Parish. Father Edward F. X. Curran is appointed its founding Pastor.

3 / 31 / 1920
Property at 1012 North 5th Street was purchased for the original rectory of St. Margaret's Parish, where weekday Masses were offered, confessions heard, and Baptisms and Weddings were celebrated.

9 / 1920
St. Margaret's Parish purchases farmland on the north side of Spring Street between Centre Avenue and Third Street, comprising 68,081 square feet, was purchased for $55,000. Construction began on a basement church and school.

10 / 1921
Premises located at 236-238 Franklin Street are purchased and turned into a Convent for the Sisters of Holy Rosary School.

4 / 16 / 1922
On Easter Sunday Father Curran celebrated the first Mass in the long-awaited basement church of St. Margaret. In addition to the space for Mass - the altar, sanctuary located on the present stage - four classrooms divided by curtains were set up on the east and west sides of the building. Here in September, 1922, St. Margaret School was opened, staffed by the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The sisters established their convent in a leased property at 1023 North Front Street.

3 / 3 / 1924
Msgr. Bornemann died. Rev Theodore Hammeke succeeded him as pastor of St. Paul's

1925
Sacred Heart Parish purchased a dwelling at 106 S. 7th Ave., West Reading as a convent for the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to leave an apartment they occupied at the rear of the second-floor class-rooms on Hill Avenue.

5 / 4 / 1925
A convent at 325 South Twelfth Street for the Felician Sisters of St. Mary's, at a cost of $58,000, was completed. The building was solemnly blessed, on Wednesday, June 29th, by Bishop Michael J. Crane, D., D., of Philadelphia. The new home of the Felician Sisters, about a dozen in number, was built on the east side of South Twelfth street, between Spruce and Muhlenberg, on what was operated for many years as a stone quarry by McQuade Brothers.

1926
St. Paul's Holy Family Society is formed.

1926
The Catholic Women's Union (St. Paul's Welfare League) is established with quarters in the old orphanage.

1926
Fr. Hammeke, rector of St. Paul's, divides the parish into districts. Convent is renovated. Cost, $36,000.

1926
Construction of a small chapel dedicated to St. Anthony for what would become Holy Guardian Angels Parish began in 1925 and completed in 1926 on Eighth and Columbia avenues. Priests from St. Joseph Hospital and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Hyde Park served the chapel, along with the pastor of Holy Rosary, the Rev. Dr. Eugene Marchetti. But, the lack of a fulltime pastor prevented the establishment of a church.

1926
Old St. Mary's convent became a day nursery/kindergarten and convent for the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, whom Father Malusecki brought over from Poland.

1926
Father Bornemann initiated steps to secure a new site for Sacred Heart Parish, due to the increasing industrial growth in the immediate area of the church - school building.

1927
St. Paul's Usher Society is formed.

1927
Rev. Theodore Hammeke, rector of St. Paul's Church, establishes St. Paul's Commercial School as a department of the parochial school.

1927
The 12-room school at St. Mary's that was connected to the back of the church had become too crowded, so work began on the construction of a $175,000 combination high school and recreational center at southeast corner of Twelfth and Spruce streets, diagonally across from the church. In addition to the high school department the building included grade class rooms to relieve present crowded conditions at the Polish parochial school where there was an enrollment of nearly 900 pupils. Features of the interior were an auditorium with a large seating capacity, and a gymnasium. The latter was located in the basement, where showers and lockers were also provided.

11 / 1927
Comparatively new organ of Arcadia Theater purchased for St. Paul's church

11 / 15 / 1927
Advisory committee formed to consider plans for improvements to St. Paul's church. Found necessary to extensively remodel entire structure to accommodate increasing attendance. Project to cost $100,000.

1928
Weaknesses found in roof truss & floor supports of St. Paul. Roof strengthened with iron girders; entire new floor laid.

1 / 15 / 1928
Work began on St. Paul's school hall as temporary chapel

5 / 13 / 1928
Fr. Theodore Hammeke died at St. Joseph's hospital. He was succeeded as pastor of St. Paul's by his brother Fr. William Hammeke

6 / 1928
Father John N. Wachter was appointed to succeed Father Bornemann as pastor of Sacred Heart.

7 / 4 / 1928
The cornerstone was laid for the new school and recreational center at St. Mary's. Rt. Rev. Michael J. Crane, auxiliary bishop of the Philadelphia Catholic archdiocese, officiated at cornerstone laying ceremony.

11 / 1928
Newly remodeled St. Paul's church able to be used for divine services.

2 / 17 / 1929
New St. Paul's church officially reopened & blessed by Cardinal Dougherty.

7 / 21 / 1929
Operations started on the erection of a two-story combination church and school building for Sacred Heart Parish on Franklin Street between Seventh Avenue and Lake View drive, in West Reading.

11 / 1929
Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces the formation of Holy Guardian Angels Parish. The first pastor was the Rev. Frederick F. Lanshe and he celebrated his first Mass at St. Anthony's Chapel on Nov. 23, 1929. A home at 3120 Kutztown Road, Hyde Park, once owned by Florin Herb was donated by parishioner Emma Herbst for Lanshe's residence. The home also served as an additional chapel.

5 / 4 / 1930
Dedication services were held at the newly built Sacred Heart combination church and school.

9 / 7 / 1930
The Msgr. Bornemann Memorial Chapel in Gethsemane Cemetery is completed. Improvements and renovations to the cemetery are made. The "Agony Group" is made a permanent shrine.

11 / 1930
On motion of Attorneys Harold J. Ryan and Daniel C. Donoghue, the latter of Philadelphia, Judge Shanaman granted a petition allowing Cardinal Dougherty, as trustee for the congregation of St. Paul's Catholic Church, to convey to himself, trustee for the congregation of Holy Guardian Angels Parish, a tract of land at the southwest corner of Gethsemane Cemetery.

5 / 21 / 1931
Rennovated Holy Rosary Church at Schuylkill Avenue and Green Street solemnly rededicated.

6 / 7 / 1931
Groundbreaking ceremony held at 11:15 am for Holy Guardian Angels church and school.

11 / 8 / 1931
New Holy Guardian Angels church and school solemnly dedicated. D. Cardinal Dougherty, archbishop of Philadelphia, presided at the solemn high mass. Rev Msgr. John J. Bonner, D. D., of Philadelphia, delivered the sermon.

9 / 6 / 1936
St. Paul's Parish celebrates its Diamond Jubilee.

5 / 11 / 1937
Father Malusecki of St. Mary's was preparing to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his ordination when he died three weeks short of the anniversary date. Rev. Malusecki's successor was the Rev. Joseph Gazdzik.

1938
Renovations began for the interior of St. Mary's Church.

1938
After twenty-eight years as pastor of Holy Rosary Church, Fr. Marchetti was transferred to the Mt. Carmel R. C. Church in Allentown, PA.

4 / 26 / 1938
Rev. Leonard T. Miconi is appointed pastor of Holy Rosary Parish.

11 / 20 / 1938
St. Mary's observed its Golden Jubilee with an 11:00 AM Mass celebrated by Msgr. J. Carroll McCormick, at that time Chancellor of the Archdiocese, in the presence of Bishop Hugh L. Lamb, then the Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia.

1939
Fr Hammeke celebrates his Golden Jubilee at age 77. Rev. Charles Allwein presents him with a purse of $3000 from the parishioners.

1939
Fr. Hammeke, rector of St. Paul's church, buys Luden estate at Hill Rd. and Clymer St. for $45,000 and establishes Bornemann Central Catholic High School.

1939
The original Holy Rosary Parish Church at Schuylkill Avenue and Green Street is renovated.

1940
Holy Rosary chapel at 240 Franklin Street (first floor of school building) became the main church and the Schuylkill Avenue church became known as the Mission Chapel.

9 / 3 / 1940
Bornemann Catholic High School opens with an enrollment of 75. Freshmen reported for classes 8.30 o'clock, and the upper classmen, including a senior class, reported the next day at the same time.

9 / 12 / 1940
New Holy Rosary Rectory located at 46 South 3rd Street is solemnly blessed.

1941
Annex to St. Paul's school is begun. Enrollment now 180.

5 / 16 / 1941
Cornerstone laid for an addition of a $75,000 gymnasium for Bornemann Catholic High School, in the presence of the student body of 180 children. Assembling after the noon lunch period, the students watched while the Rev. William Hammeke, rector of St. Paul's Catholic Church, blessed the stone with holy water.

1942
A building at 101-103 South Seventh Avenue in West Reading was purchased to serve as a rectory for Sacred Heart Parish. The original rectory at 917 Franklin Street in Wyomissing was sold.

1942
Members of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, an order of nuns founded by St. John Bosco, started serving Holy Rosary.

1943
Fr Hammeke, in failing health, celebrates his 81st birthday and requests that he be relieved of many of his duties. Cardinal Dougherty appoints Rev. John Wachter as administrator of the parish affairs.

1943
Properties located at 237-239 Franklin Street, 44 South Third Street, and 110 South Third Street, purchased for the site of a new Holy Rosary Church.

9 / 15 / 1943
Father Theodore C. Wagner was appointed as the third pastor of Sacred Heart parish.

1947
Bornemann Catholic High School accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools receiving a superior rating on curriculum, average on pupil activity, superior on library, superior on guidance, very superior on instruction, very superior on outcomes, very superior on staff, superior on plant, and superior on administration.

1947
Ground purchased for an athletic field for Bornemann Catholic High School in neighboring St. Lawrence.

1948
Sacred Heart was split for the first time with the formation of St. John Baptist de la Sale in Shillington.

10 / 1948
St. John Baptist de la Salle is created with a membership of 180 families. The creation of the parish was announced by the late Cardinal Dennis Dougherty, then archbishop of Philadelphia. The boundaries for the new church included the Shillington, Mohnton, Lincoln Park, Oakbrook and Millmont areas. The areas were formerly served by St. Peter's, Reading, and Sacred Heart, West Reading.

10 / 11 / 1948
The Rev. John J. Hasson, a native of Reading and an assistant rector for ten years at St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia, was chosen to found the new parish of St. John Baptist de la Salle.

1949
Fr Wachter is named Rector of St. Paul's.

1949
A house at 322 E. Walnut St was purchased in 1949 and served as a combination chapel and rectory for the parish of St. John Baptist de la Salle.

1950
Father Mickun, pastor of St. Mary's, installs blue-hued stained glass windows in the church. Father Mickun purchased two of the windows himself: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The former, which pictures a legless Jesus Christ, was reassembled behind the St. Joseph altar.

8 / 20 / 1950
Newly-completed Holy Rosary rectory dedicated and ground-breaking ceremonies held for a new Holy Rosary church.

10 / 1950
The Rev. Henry D. McPeak succeeded Father Hasson as pastor of St. John Baptist de la Salle.

1952
Rev. Charles L. Allwein resigns as principal of Bornemann Catholic High School to become pastor of the Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, at Bally. The Rev. Raymond J. Leichner, director of athletics at the school, took over the reins of principal at the end of the school year, when Father Allwein's resignation became effective.

1952
Fr Wachter is elevated to Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Rev. Monsignor.

2 / 1952
The parish of St. John Baptist de la Salle purchases a hosiery factory from Fedden Brothers Co. A large lot was included in the transaction. The entire plot was 300 by 250 feet and was bordered by Wyomissing Avenue, Walnut Street, Elm Street and 20-foot alley. The building was converted into a church and school. It served as a church until 1971 and as a school until 1989.

9 / 11 / 1952
Saint John Baptist de La Salle School opens in a former hosiery factory, by three Sisters of Mercy from Merion, Pennsylvania. The first principal of the school was Sister Mary Roberta, R.S.M. There were 105 children in attendance.

1953
Parishioners and community alike honor Msgr. Wachter, rector of St. Paul's church, at a testimonial dinner Msgr. Wachter is named Vicar Forane for Berks County.

6 / 28 / 1953
The present Holy Rosary Church, located at 3rd and Franklin Sts., was dedicated. The Rt. Rev. Msgr. Luigi Ligutti of Des Moines, Iowa, executive director of the National Catholic Wellfare Conference, was the celebrant for the first Solemn High Mass to be held inside the new Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

6 / 28 / 1953
Present Holy Rosary Church, located at 3rd and Franklin Sts., was dedicated.

1954
Demolition of buildings adjacent to church on 9th St. begins. Site would become a parking lot for parishioners.

1954
Msgr. Wachter is named Secretary for the Diocesan Commission of Vigilance for the Faith.

9 / 24 / 1955
At the age of 67, Msgr. Wachter, recor of St. Paul's dies suddenly. So well was he loved by both religious and laity that 25 Monsignors, 220 priests and 200 Nuns attended his Solemn Pontifical Requiem Mass and over 10,000 persons viewed his remains lying in state in St. Paul's Church. It was said of him that, "Man's life can be divided into three parts; the past, the present and eternity.

11 / 1 / 1955
Fr. Henry J. Huesman is named Rector of St. Paul's.

1956
St. Paul's Church renovated. Renovations included sacristy and side chapels.

1956
Holy Guardian Angels Women's Club established.

1957
St. Paul's rectory renovated. Renovations in the rectory include extension of domestic quarters, dining room, kitchen and laundry.

1957
Father Theodore C. Wagner and his parishioners built a four-classroom wing, making Sacred Heart the largest parochial school in Berks County with 12 classrooms, staffed by eight nuns and four lay teachers.

1958
A new baptistry is completed at St. Paul's.

1958
Fr Huesman, rector of St. Paul's, celebrates the 25th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

1958
St. Paul's convent renovated. Renovations included a dining room, community room and parlors.

1959
A new convent to house 22 Sisters of Christian Charity who teach in Central Catholic High School is built at 1500 Eckert Ave. in Reading.

12 / 8 / 1959
Rev. Msgr. Theodore C. Wagner of Sacred Heart Parish was officially elevated to the rank of Right Reverend Monsignor.

1960
Fr. Huesman, recot of St. Paul's church, supervises the building of a modern new maintenance building, a new business building and superintendent's quarters at Gethsemane Cemetery.

7 / 24 / 1960
Ground was broken for the present Sacred Heart Church that now stands at Lakeview Drive and Franklin Street, West Reading.

1961
Bishop Joseph McShea became the first Bishop of the Allentown Diocese.

1961
Father Joseph A Zmijewski, D.D., late in 1961, was appointed administrator of St. Mary's Parish to replace the retired pastor Father John Mickun.

1961
Construction is started on a new elementary school at St. Paul's replacing the existing 91 year old structure. Bishop McShea appoints Fr. Huesman superintendant of schools for the newly created Diocese of Allentown.

1961
In preparation for the Diamond Jubilee of St. Mary's church jubilee, Father Joseph A Zmijewski began extensive renovations to the church. The cost of the renovations was $150,000.

2 / 15 / 1961
Rome announces the creation of the new Diocese of Allentown comprised of Berks, Northampton, Carbon and Schuykill Counties.

4 / 1961
Father Huesman appointed the first superintendent of schools of the newly created Diocese of Allentown, comprising five counties and numbering 40,000 parochial school children and 1,200 teachers. He held that position until May 1970.

11 / 1 / 1961
Father Mickun leaves St. Mary's for his retirementret. Father Mickun maintained the pastorate of St. Mary's until he died on December 20th, 1968. In those days, it was unheard of for a pastor to be declared Pastor Emeritus; pastors retained office until their death

11 / 19 / 1961
St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church observed its Centennial anniversary starting Sunday, Nov. 19, 1961, with cornerstone laying for a new parochial school, followed by a nine-day period of special religious services.

5 / 16 / 1962
A corner-stone laying ceremony was held for the new Sacred Heart Church.

9 / 4 / 1962
The Rev. Henry D. McPeak is succeeded by the Rev. John A. Lyons, S.T.L. as pastor of St. John Baptist de la Salle.

1963
New Holy Guardian Angels Church completed at a cost of $700,000 on additional land next to the original church and school. The original church and school building was converted to school use.

3 / 17 / 1963
The rank of Monsignor was conferred on Father Huesman through Pope John XXIII.

5 / 1963
The Rev. Leonard T. Miconi was elevated to the rank of monsignor by Pope John XXIII. The appointment was announced at a Mass celebrating his 25th year at Holy Rosary.

10 / 20 / 1963
St. Mary's celebrates its Diamond Jubilee. Bishop McShea was not present because he was in Rome attending the Second Vatican Council. Father Anthony Ziemba, priest-son of the parish, celebrated the Jubilee Mass. He was assisted by Fathers Julian Zagorski, Francis Urbanowicz, Joseph Daniel, and John Basinski - all former assistant pastors.

1964
Rev. William P. Hoffner becomes the third principal of Bornemann Catholic High School. That same year Central Catholic High graduated a record size senior class (312). The peak enrollment was 1,200 in 1964. On Sunday, June 7, 1964, more than 2,200 attended the 23rd commencement ceremonies, at the Rajah Theater.

1966
St. John Baptist de la Salle parishioners start a building fund drive. A seven-acre site in the West Hills section of Shillington is purchased in 1966 for $57,000, plus a substantial share of the costs of new roads, sewers and curbs in the area. Membership was up to 900 families.

1968
Rev. Joseph J. Morrell becomes the fourth principal of Bornemann Catholic High School.

5 / 14 / 1968
Under the Allentown Roman Catholic Diocese, Msgr. Miconi was granted an extended leave of absence on the recommendation of his physician. Bishop Joseph McShea appointed Rev. Felix A. Losito to Holy Rosary as administrator.

9 / 1968
Father Joseph A Zmijewski diedd and was buried from St. Mary's with funeral Mass offered by Bishop McShea. As Father Mickun was still alive, Bishop McShea, on October 23, 1968, assigned Father John A. Duminiak administrator of St. Mary's.

1969
A groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of construction of a church and convent was held at 3 p.m. by the religious and lay officers of the parish St. John Baptist de la Salle.

3 / 27 / 1969
Father Duminiak became pastor St. Mary's church.

1970
House of Good Shepherd and 11 acres of ground situated at Glenside, Bern Township, at the edge of the Schuykill Avenue Bridge, sold to the Carpenter Technology Corp. for $450,000. The final group of girls at the school were transferred to other schools operated by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, which operated the school at that time.

5 / 1970
The convent of St. John Baptist de la Salle in the wooded area behind the church is completed.

7 / 1970
Construction of St. John Baptist de la Salle Church is completed.

1 / 1971
Construction of St. John Baptist de la Salle rectory is completed.

3 / 21 / 1971
Bishop Joseph McShea, then head of the Allentown diocese, officiated at a cornerstone laying ceremonies marking completion of St. John Baptist de la Salle parish building program. Several hundred persons attended. The program started at 4 p.m. Bishop McShea, accompanied by his aides, started by blessing the new rectory at 400 Holland St., and then proceeded in procession to the new convent at 420 Holland St., which was also blessed. From there, the bishop blessed the exterior and interior of the new church at Kerrick road and Mitti Streets. Bishop Joseph McShea was the main celebrant at a concelebrated Mass in the church.

2 / 5 / 1972
The Rev. Msgr. Leonard Miconi, pastor of Holy Rosary Church, passed away at the age of 74.

2 / 8 / 1972
Rev. Felix A. Losito, appointed pastor of Holy Rosary.

6 / 11 / 1973
Father Duminiak resigned as pastor of St. Mary's due to failing health.

1974
Improvements made to Bornemann Catholic High School consisting of a new stage, physical education and all-purpose room, storage areas, and a TV room.

1975
Vincent T. Shemanski became the firth principal of Bornemann Catholic High School. One of the first lay administrators of Catholic schools; Shemanski taught history and biology and coached football at St. Plus X High School In Roseto, Northampton County, for eight years before accepting a teaching and coaching post at Central Catholic in 1965.

6 / 1 / 1975
Father Paskowicz, administrator of St. Mary's, named pastor.

8 / 19 / 1975
Fr. Francis J. Fromholzer is named Rector of St. Paul's.

1977
The first St. Mary School behind the church was razed to provide additional off-street parking.

1977
Holy Rosary School was renamed the Cabrini Academy in honor of Mother Frances Cabrini, an Italian-born nun who came to the United States and became a citizen. She was the first American granted sainthood.

5 / 5 / 1977
Rev. Felix A. Losito, elevated by Bishop Joseph McShea to the rank of Domestic Prelate, and given the title of Reverend Monsignor.

6 / 16 / 1977
St. Paul's School, in existence for more than 100 years, closed its doors.

4 / 23 / 1978
Monsignor Theodore C. Wagner of Sacred Heart Parish, celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the priesthood.

12 / 1978
Groundbreaking for Holy Guardian Angels rectory, to replace the priests' residence and parish office at 2928 Kutztown Road.

1979
Holy Guardian Angels rectory completed.

1979
Members of the Daughters of Divine Zeal, an order of nuns founded by Hannibal Maria Difrancia, an Italian priest who dedicated his life to orphans and the poor, started serving Holy Rosary.

6 / 20 / 1979
Monsignor Theodore C. Wagner, 74, of Sacred Heart Parish passed to his eternal reward. He died on the same date as his father who succumbed in 1908.

4 / 15 / 1980
Monsignor William E. Handges is named Rector of St. Paul's.

5 / 1984
Father Paskowicz requested sick leave from Bishop Thomas Welsh, the successor of Bishop McShea, founding Bishop of Allentown.

5 / 24 / 1984
Father Leonard S. Merook was appointed pastor of St. Mary's.

9 / 1 / 1984
Father Merook, pastor of St. Mary's church, died very suddenly in his suite in the rectory. Father Merook was buried from St. Mary's and lies in the parish cemetery next to Father Malusecki.

10 / 2 / 1984
Father Leo S. Stajkowski named pastor of St. Mary's church.

6 / 10 / 1985
Monsignor John P. Seitzinger is named Rector of St. Paul's.

12 / 1985
Rev. John A. Lyons observes the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest with a special Mass and a dinner at Stokesay Castle.

1986
Improvements made to Bornemann Catholic High School consisting of a physical fitness room, audio-visual room, guidance Suite, teacher's lounge, storage room, and accounting and student services.

6 / 1987
Rev. John A. Lyons, is named pastor emeritus of St. John Baptist de La Salle, Church, Shillington, by Bishop Thomas J. Welsh of the Diocese of Allentown. Bishop Thomas J. Welsh appoints the Rev. Thomas J. Birch to replace Lyons.

4 / 29 / 1988
Bishop Thomas J. Welsh, then head of the Allentown diocese, approves plans for constructing a new building for a school on the same grounds as St. John Baptist de la Salle Church.

10 / 16 / 1988
St. Mary's celebrated its Centennial observed with a Mass of Thanksgiving offered by Bishop Thomas J. Welsh. Concelebrating were Msgrs. John Baruch, James Treston, Joseph Smith, John Campbell, and Edward Musial, and Fathers Raymond Slezak, Robert Tobolski MSC, David Kohut OFM, Anthony Ziemba, Ladislaus Dudek, Lawrence Bukaty, Frederick Przydzial, Roman Tarka, Donald Cieniewicz, and Loe Stajokowski. Msgr. Francis Urbanowicz was present in the sanctuary, and Father William Baver acted as masters of ceremonies.

10 / 30 / 1988
Groundbreaking ceremonies the new St. John Baptist de la Salle school was held at 12:30 p.m. It came at the time when the parish celebrated its 40th anniversary. Bishop Thomas J. Welsh officiated at the anniversary Mass on Sunday at 11:30, and then at the ground-breaking.

11 / 4 / 1989
Dedication services held for the new $2.3 million regional La Salle Academy.

11 / 22 / 1992
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church celebrated its 75th anniversary at a solemn Pontifical High Mass. Bishop Thomas J. Welsh of the Allentown Diocese was the principal celebrant.

12 / 1993
Rev. Thomas J. Birch, pastor of St. John Baptist Parish, is elevated to Monsignor.

6 / 1996
Monsignor Thomas J. Birch, is named pastor emeritus of St. John Baptist de La Salle, Church, Shillington, by Bishop Thomas J. Welsh of the Diocese of Allentown. Bishop Thomas J. Welsh appoints the Rev. David C. Gillis to replace Birch.

9 / 1997
Fr. Andrew A. Ulincy is named Rector of St. Paul's.

10 / 4 / 1998
St. John Baptist de la Salle parish celebrates its 50th anniversary. Retired Bishop Thomas J. Welsh of the Diocese of Allentown was the principal celebrant at the 3 p.m. anniversary Mass. The Rev. Christopher Wakefield, a son of the parish and former assistant, and three daughters of the parish - Sisters Patricia Ann Megle and Kathleen Marie Brown, IHM, and Christine Seghetti, RSM, were guests. Also participating were nearly 20 former pastors and priests. An anniversary dinner and dance followed the Mass at the Inn at Reading.

2000
Groundbreaking for new Holy Guardian Angels School.

2001
New Holy Guardian Angels School completed.

6 / 2001
Holy Guardian Angels old church and school demolished after a decommissioning ceremony.

2003
St. Mary's School at 12th and Spruce streets, closed. Enrollment had dropped 45 percent since 1998. In its last year, St. Mary's had only 76 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. At its peak, in the 1920s and 1930's, the school had nearly 900 students. When the school started holding classes in 1888 in the basement of St. Mary's Church, 250 S. 12th St., about three dozen Polish children were in attendance.

5 / 16 / 2004
Centennial Celebration of Holy Rosary parish was held with solemn services befitting this momentous occasion.

6 / 14 / 2005
Rev. Richard Clement, former pastor of St. Joseph Church, Reading, is appointed pastor of St. John Baptist de La Salle.

11 / 2006
St. Joseph's Hospital opens a new $150 million, 40-acre hospital and medical office building in Bern Township. The property at 12th and Walnut Streets was donated to the Reading School District for the creation of a Junior High School, called the Citadel.

2010
Cabrini Academy became known as the Cabrini Early Childhood Center for prekindergarten and kindergarten pupils.

2 / 1 / 2010
Opening Mass for 150th Year Celebration of St. Paul's Church. Father Ulincy, Father Amiro and Father Pham concelebrate the Opening Mass.

2011
Reverend Monsignor Joseph A. DeSantis appointed pastor of Holy Rosary Parish.

2 / 11 / 2011
It was announced that Central Catholic would merge with Holy Name high school. The newly formed school would be named Berks Catholic High School located at Holy Name's site on East Wyomissing Boulevard.

11 / 3 / 2011
Reverend Monsignor Felix A Losito passed away at the age of 80 in the Reading Hospital and Medical Center.

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