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Parish History

While Sunday Mass was celebrated in Youngwood as early as 1908, the first Mass in the original Holy Cross Church was not celebrated until 1917.

In 1908, Benedictine Fr. Edward Andelfinger, then pastor of Most Holy Sacrament Church (Blessed Sacrament Cathedral) in Greensburg, received permissions from Bishop Regis Canevin of Pittsburgh to celebrate Mass every Sunday in Youngwood. However, because of the small number of Catholics at the time, he gave up the project after a year.

Seven years later, people started asking for a church in the community, and in 1914, Bishop Canevin gave permission for a mission to be established.

Interest in establishing a church grew, and resulted in an organized fundraising effort for a church building. Two and one-half lots were purchased in August 1916, from the Youngwood Land Company. The contract was let for a 35′ x 65′ building, and Benedictine Fr. Germain Ball celebrated Mass for the first time the following year in the new church on the corner of Eighth and Depot Streets.

In March 1918, Fr. Germain died, and Benedictine Fr. Gilbert Straub became pastor, and served until 1952. Three months after Fr. German’s death, Bishop Canevin blessed and dedicated the new church under the title of Holy Cross.

The second and last Benedictine pastor was Fr. Hubert Macko, assigned in 1953. Two years later, on June 30, 1955, Bishop Hugh L. Lamb, the first bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, made Holy Cross a separate parish, with St. Gilbert in Hunker as its mission.

Bishop Lamb appointed Fr. Joseph A. Pernatozzi as the new parish’s first resident pastor, and in July, the parish purchased a house at the corner of Eighth and Chestnut Streets for the rectory. The rectory was later moved to what was formerly the convent.

With the original church too small to meet its needs, the parish announced plans for an addition in May 1961. On March 19, 1962, Bishop William G. Connare, the second bishop of Greensburg, broke ground for the addition.

The first Mass in the almost-completed church was concelebrated on December 22, 1962, by Bishop Connare, Fr. Pernatozzi and Benedictine Fr. Method Mraz, pastor of St. Bruno Church in South Greensburg. The new addition had a seating capacity of 500 people, and was dedicated on April 21, 1963.

Do you have old pictures of the early days of Holy Cross that you would like to share on our website? Contact the parish office for more information.