HOLY NAME CHURCH                                        Today:  click here

First Holy Name Catholic Church

Erected in 1827

     The Catholic congregation in Ebensburg was formed about the year 1827, when a frame church was built on the northeast corner of what is now the old Catholic cemetery on Julian street opposite the present brick church. It was dedicated under the patronage of St. Patrick, but on what date and by whom it has not been ascertained, although it is probable that it was Rev. D.A. Gallitzin, who at that time was over the pastorate which included a large part of Western Pennsylvania. It is said that the building was erected by Judge Murray and was not regularly used for some years. An account of the congregation states that the Rev. Patrick Rafferty was its first pastor after it was built.

     Rev. Terrence McGirr, who came to Cambria County from Westmoreland county, had about this time settled on a farm southwest of town. He, in the early days of St. Patrick's church assisted Rev. D. A. Gallitzin at Loretto.

     The absence of records of the church before 1844 makes it difficult to ascertain by whom the Catholics at Ebensburg were served.

     Sometimes Father McGirr held mass in his home and these services were attended by Catholics from Johnstown who came the 18 miles to hear mass before a church was erected at Johnstown (1832). At times the Ebensburg Catholics attended mass at Loretto in the absence of a local pastor.

     About 1831, Rev. James Bradley located at Ebensburg, residing in the house of the late David Todd, where he had a room. From here he served the SS. Simon and Jude congregation at Cameron's Bottom, Indiana county. Later he was at Newry, then Huntingdon county, now Blair, for many years.

     Father Thomas Gallagher, who is buried in the old Catholic cemetery here, never served the Ebensburg congregation.  He died in Newry in 1833, as recorded on his grave marker, and was interred here at his own request.

     In 1834, a German priest Rev. Peter H. Lemke, came to Loretto. Lemke had a Lutheran minister and subsequently a Catholic priest. He was stationed at Philadelphia, but not being contented and having heard of Rev. Gallitzin asked permission to go to Loretto. Hence he became a noted missionary and priest in Cambria County. Father Lemke was installed in the local congregation as resident pastor, Dec 23, 1834, and also served at St. Joseph's church at Hart's Sleeping Place. In Ebensburg he lived in Judge Murray's house for some time, attending St. Patrick's congregation and going to Loretto once a month to minister to the Germans in Father Gallitzin's congregation.

     In 1840, after the death of Father Gallitzin, he became the successor to the "Apostle of the Alleghenies" which honor he held until 1844 when he was succeeded by Rev. Hugh Gallagher. At that time Father Lemke went to Carroltown.

     Rev Mathew M. Gibson, who for some time from 1841 attended several Catholic churches in the county, frequently visited relatives in Ebensburg and administered mass to the congregation here.

     From the Register of Baptism and Marriages the following items have been gleaned. However there is no doubt that the first entries set down did not necessarily mean the pastor's installation date. He could have been here a time before making an entry and some time after his last:

     On April 20, 1844, Rev. A.P. Gibbs recorded the baptism of John, son of Thomas and Mary Higgins, and the last entry is dated July 10, 1844.

     Rev. Thomas B. O'Flaherty's first entry was on Nov 10, 1844, and his last Mar., 1845.

     The next entry is by Rev. Joseph A. Gallagher on Jan 22, 1849. His last was on Aug. 31, 1851.

     It is probable that during the pastorate of Rev. J. D. Gallagher that the first brick church of this place was built. It was located where the lot in which the remains of Rev. R. C. Christy and several sisters of the Order of St. Joseph are buried.

     The first mass in this church was said by Father McGirr on Christmas Day, 1850. This church was also under the patronage of St. Patrick and bore his name.

     Father A. L. Rochet made his first entry on Feb 8, 1852, and his last on Oct. 4, 1852.

     January 9, 1853, Rev. M. Corbett's name appears and for the last time Nov. 28, 1854.

     On Nov. 29, 1854, appears an entry by Rev. "Gul" Pollard - "Gul" being an abbreviation for Gulielmo (William) and his last entry is Nov. 8, 1855.

     The name of Rev. M. J. Mitchell is appended into an entry dated Dec. 9, 1855, and after several entries by Rev. C.M. Sheehan and others from Nov. 1, 1856 to Sept. 27, 1857, indications are that Father Mitchell was absent during that period. His name reappears Nov 1, 1857, and last on May 8, 1864.

     Rev. E. A. Bush served June 26, 1864 to Jan. 6, 1865.

     On Mar. 20, 1865, Rev. R. C. Christy signed his name to the first entry.

     During Father Christy's incumbency the present brick church was built, which was no small matter for that time. However, through his efforts and the congregation the church was finally completed at a cost of $25,000. At its dedication by Bishop Domenic "The Church of the Holy Name" was given it.

     Father Christy's last entry is dated Sept. 8, 1872. He shortly after went to Columbus, Ohio. His death occurred Oct. 16, 1878, he then being two days past his 49th year. He was born at Loretto.

     The next entry, signed Dr. H. Chiver, is dated Oct. 11, 1874. His last is Jan. 17, 1875.

     On Mar. 14, 1875, Rev. J. Boyle made his first entry; last, July 29, 1880.

     Rev. J. E. Reardon's name appears from Sept. 23, 1880, to July 30, 1882.

     On Aug. 12, 1882, Rev. Thomas Walsh's name appears. His last entry is Aug. 12, 1888.

     Rev. T.P. Smith then appears, dated Sept. 2, 1888 to Jan. 29, 1890.

     On June 29, 1890, the name of Rev. J. J. Deasy is entered, his last entry bearing the date of Dec. 17, 1899. Father Deasy built the present rectory, but it has since been greatly improved.

     Jan. 7, 1900, Rev. John J. Ludden's name was entered for the first time. For several years from 1902, Rev. Thomas J. Harton of Philadelphia assisted Father Ludden to the missions down the Blacklick. He was afterwards styled "Administrator of the Missions on the Blacklick."

     On Dec. 8, 1903, Rev. Ludden's name was signed for the last time.

     On Jan 10, 1904, Rev. Peter Fox signed his name. On Jan 26, 1906, his name appears for the last time, he having changed parishes with Rev. H. M. O'Neil, then pastor of the Sacred Heart Church at Conemaugh.

     In 1910 Father O'Neil instigated the building of Holy Name School and, in 1917, he purchased the A. W. Buck home located on the corner of Center street and Highland avenue. This building was named Holy Name Convent and was purchased as a home for the nuns who taught at the school.

     Father O'Neil passed away Oct. 1, 1940, while still pastor at Holy Name. He had served longer than any other priest in the history of the local church. For 34 years, Rev. O'Neil had faithfully led his congregation. He was one of Ebensburg's most beloved citizens and deserved a great deal of credit for his part in placing the Catholic Church here on the firm footing it now has.

     Upon the death of Father O'Neil, Father John T. Callan was appointed acting pastor and Rev. Emmett T. Michaels, assistant.

     In 1943, Rev. Father Charles W. Gallagher was given the pastorate and Father Callan was transferred to Twin Rocks. Father Michaels had entered service in the US Navy as a marine chaplain in September, 1942. Father Paul Thomas is at present assistant pastor.

     During his pastorate, Father Gallagher has greatly aided progress at Holy Name. Through his untiring efforts, a much needed addition to the school was started in 1953 and completed this year, 1954.

St. Joseph's Infant Home

     It is believed that the first Mother House of the Sisters of St. Joseph was purchased in 1869 from the McGuire family. It was located on the corner of North Beech and East Horner streets.

     A boarding school for boys, known as Mt. Gallitzin Seminary, was founded for upkeep of the Mother House. In 1901, the Mother House was moved to Baden and the school became a private school for girls, known as Mt. Gallitzin Academy.

     In January 1921, the St. Joseph's Infants Home came into existence due to a fire that had ravaged the orphanage at Loretto. Fifty children were brought to the home for care. At that time, Sr. Aloysia was mother superior.

     At the present time, seven nuns are caring for forty children at the home. Sr. Evarista is the mother superior.

Holy Name School

     The first Catholic School in Ebensburg was a one room school located on the northwest corner of what is now the Holy Name cemetery. It was erected in 1890.

     In 1910, three nuns, Sr. Antoinette, Sr. Benedict and Mother Genevieve came to Ebensburg to teach in the newly built four room school erected at the site fo the present building.

     The nuns lived at St. Joseph's Infant Home until the purchase of Holy name Convent in 1917.

     In 1953, an addition of four rooms was started and completed in 1954. The school is presently comprised of eight classrooms, a social room and a well-managed cafeteria. The student body has grown from 87 in 1910 to nearly 400 pupils.

As reported in the Mountaineer Herald, Aug 16, 1954