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St. Mary Magdalen at Route 54, Lost Creek, PA 17946 US - St. Mary Magdalen Church History

St. Mary Magdalen Church History

St. Mary Magdalen Church History St. Mary Magdalen's Parish, Lost Creek, PA, was established in 1879 by Reverend Martin P. Walsh. At the outset of his work, Father Walsh carried on services in various school houses in the area, traveling from place to place by horse and buggy. Before the parish buildings were constructed, Fr. Walsh made his home with the Brennan Family who lived in a section of Lost Creek know as Deansville. The first Church building was completed and dedicated on Christmas Day, 1879 and was situated next to the site of the current church. It was a frame building in the Gothic style of architecture, constructed largely of lumber cut and milled in Lost Creek. The original parishioners were proud to note that the church was entirely paid for when it was finished. One year later, in 1880, Fr. Walsh erected a parish residence on the lot adjoining the Church property. This building, however, was destroyed by fire in 1908, twenty eight years after its completion. The boundaries of St. Mary Magdalen's Parish were quite extensive, covering the same territory as today, William Penn to the Hammond Colliery. Lost Creek itself was divided into several neighborhoods or patches including the aforementioned Deansville, Connors Patch, Store Patch, Quality Hill, the New Road and Colorado. Fr. Walsh, the pioneer Priest of Lost Creek, died in May of 1882. He was buried in his own home-town Heckschersville, PA. and was succeeded by The Reverend Hugh J. McManus who labored in the parish for ten years. Among the organizations instituted by Fr. McManus were the Temperance Society and the Cadets, a junior branch of the Temperance Society. It was during that same time that Brown's Grove; the Parish Picnic Grounds came into prominence. Father also organized the Temperance Band which was comprised of thirty instruments. In 1892 the Diocese transferred Fr. McManus to Doylestown, PA and he was replaced by The Reverend R. P. Daggert. Fr. Daggert is credited with the organization of the Fife and Drum Corps. The local chapter of the A.O. H. (Ancient Order of Hibernians) began to conduct their meetings in the Church Hall during this time. Father was also responsible for the remodeling to our Temperance Hall. After 8 years in the parish, Fr. Daggett was transferred to West Grove, PA in 1900. Reverend James Kelly now took over the care of St. Mary Magdalen's Parish. During his stay in Lost Creek, Father Kelly witnessed great hardship due to the 1902 mining strike. Father Kelly died in January of 1903 having contracted pneumonia while answering a sick call in inclement weather. He was buried in Philadelphia, PA. In 1904 the parish welcomed Father Vincent W. Corcoran. In 1908 Father Corcoran began to remodel the Rectory. During the repair work however, the rectory was destroyed by fire. In this fire many important documents including the Baptismal Records from September 19, 1894 to August 23, 1908 were destroyed. Father Corcoran established his residence in the Ryan property which was located in the Store Patch District of Lost Creek on what is currently called Convent Road. Father was very active in the parishes many societies and is especially remembered for taking the Cadets on a number of trips, one of which was to Philadelphia, by train, to compete in a drill competition. Father Corcoran was succeeded by The Reverend William T. Kelly on July 10, 1915. He immediately prepared plans for the erection of a new church, rectory, parochial school and convent. The church was started in March of 1916. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated for the first time in the New Church on Christmas Day, 1918. The Church has a seating capacity of 700. There were five Altars, one Main Altar and 4 Chapel Altars. The Church was considered by many as one of the most beautiful in Schuylkill County. Work on the Parochial School and Convent began June 13, 192 and was completed in 1925. The School and Convent were located on Rt. 54 West, in The Store Patch District. During construction, school was conducted in the basement of the Church by 9 sisters of Saint Francis. At this time, Father Kelly vacated his Rectory and turned it over to the Sisters until their Convent was completed. After twenty-two years as Pastor of St. Mary Magdalen's Parish, Father Kelly was transferred to Old St. Mary's Church in Philadelphia, PA. Reverend Henry F. Kiggins arrived in Lost Creek on August 21, 1937 and took up his duties as Pastor. Upon his arrival, Fr. Kiggins found that nature had wrought havoc with the beautiful buildings recently erected had found that scarcely any of the parish's material possessions had escaped damage. In February of 1938, the Department of Labor and Industry of the State of Pennsylvania forced the closing of the Church. At that time, Father Kiggins received permission from the Diocese to set up a temporary Chapel in the Rectory where Mass was celebrated for two and one half years. During that time Fr. Kiggins with permission form the Diocese began to plan for the erection of a new Church. Because of the unfavorable financial conditions of the Parish at that time, specifications for this building required that the old Church be demolished and any materials that could be salvaged would be re-used in the construction of the new Church. to be continued...

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