BLOSSBURG – The faithful of Holy Child Parish in Tioga County will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its secondary worship site – Saint Mary of Czestochowa Church in Blossburg – later this month.

On Sunday, June 23, 2024, parishioners and friends have been invited to a special celebration that will begin with Mass at 9 a.m. at Saint Mary’s Church and will be followed by a dinner at 3 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Hall.

Saint Mary of Czestochowa Church in Blossburg is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2024. Parishioners are planning an anniversary dinner to be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 23. (Photos/Eric Deabill)

“We’re going to have Polish foods and most of the people who I see on the list are people that went here when they were kids themselves. They’re all coming back,” parishioner Ann Marie Davis of Blossburg, said.

Davis is one of several people helping to plan the anniversary celebration for the church which was established on March 15, 1874. A sign marking that date hangs above the main entrance for the church.

“It is hard to believe because when you look at the history of this town there aren’t that many churches that are that old,” Davis added.

Saint Mary of Czestochowa Church is the first church in the Diocese of Scranton that was established for the faithful of Polish descent.

In 1874, Blossburg was the acknowledged center of all activities of the upper Tioga Valley coal basin, which included the adjoining towns of Morris Run, Arnot, Fall-Brook, Landrus, Klondike, Morris, Hoytville, Antrim, and Covington.

Although the many Polish Catholic immigrants who had settled in Blossburg attended its one Roman Catholic church, Saint Andrew’s, they had not mastered the English language or customs and longed to be able to continue their growth in faith in the native tongue.

A monument located outside of Saint Mary of Czestochowa Church recognizes it as the first of all parishes in the Diocese of Scranton to be established for the faithful of Polish descent on March 15, 1874.

A group of Tioga County Poles petitioned the Right Reverend William O’Hara, then Bishop of the Scranton Diocese, for permission to form a Polish-speaking Catholic congregation and erect a church at Blossburg. Bishop O’Hara readily agreed.

The original wood church that was constructed in the late 1800s was replaced by a new brick-edifice building in 1960. The cost at the time was $190,190.90.

All current parishioners have been invited to display pictures or memorabilia from Saint Mary’s at the upcoming dinner.

“One person brought a piece of the railing from our old church and it is very ornate. There are flowers on it and everything,” Davis said.

Reverend Bryan Wright, pastor, Holy Child Parish, is excited to recognize the important role Saint Mary’s has played in Tioga County history.

“In Blossburg, we had a lot of parishes here at one time and this building has made such a difference in the community. We’re celebrating that presence. We’re very blessed to be here, to still have this church, and we’re very grateful for the gift of the parish. It has been a blessing,” Father Wright said.