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 - 6 St. Cyril's' Notes Its Proud History And...
6 St. Cyril's' Notes Its Proud History And Growth, Happily Readies New School By PIERCE EDWARD SWOPE Lebanon Daily News .Religion Editor Traveling west on Lehman | Street one passes at Thirteenth Street a beautiful school building, erected on th« north side of the street. Directly across from the school building is SS. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, which is erecting this building. I recently had a very pleasant visit with Jlev. Joseph S. Hager, the pastor of the church. He told me a most interesting story, not only of the new school building, but also of Ihe history and successes of his church. I hope I can tell you this story as 1 heard il from him. First, because it is in process of construction, let us talk about the school building. It is a one-story building of brick construction. It will be fully equipped for the week da}' instruction of the children of the parish from the first to the eighth grades inclusive. The children then complete their education in St. Mary's High School or in the Lebanon High School. There are 129 children in the school. Ground was b r o'k e n for the school building Sunday March 28, 1954. Monsignor Peter Huegel, vicar general of the diocese, officiated and blessed, the ground. Work was started at the school site April 1. The cornerstone was laid Sept. fl. The bishop of the diocese, George L. Leech, was present and officiated. Work has steadily progressed and it is hoped the building may be ready for occupancy some time next month. The estimated cost of the building, including equipment, is $212,654. The building will contain six classrooms, lavatories, a kitchen and a large auditorium, which is to be used for numerous purposes, such as dramatics, gymnasium and cafeteria. When one passes th« building he is at once attracted by a very large cross attached to the front wall of the building and facing Lehman Street. The cross is fifteen and a half feet high with $ cross beam of ten feet. It weighs over 500 pounds, it is constructed of stainless steel, painted white. In the front center of the upright and the cross beam there is a band of gold leaf. The writer has never seen anything more beautiful. Pastor Hager assured him there was no other cross like this anywhere in this part of the state, The wall on which the cross is fastened is covered with many small light giving windows with glass brick instead of window panes. This background shows the cross to its best advantage. I am wondering if the general public knows more about SS. Cyril and Methodius Church than I did formerly. Probably not.. Pastor Hager told me the full history of the church. I will tell you a few of the facts he told me. From 1898 to 1904 there was an influx into Lebanon County of immigrants from Slovakia, then a state of the Empire of Austria Hungary. These persons came in mostly as laborers. Their work was hard, chiefly in the iron works of our community. They worked for low wages. But they were loyal Catholics. It was seen by the bish op of the diocese that a Slovak church was needed in Lebanon. But there Was no priest of that nationality available. Bishop John W. Shanahan ap pointed Rev. Andrew J. Kennedy October 27, 1905, to care for these people. He spent six months as assistant at • St. Michael's, Slovak Church, Lansford, to learn the language. First mass was said in St. Mary's basement November 12, 1905. We must be satisfied with a few high spots "in : the history of SS. Cyril and Methodius Church. Ground was' broken at 13th and Lehman Streets May 29, 1906. The cornerstone was laid September 30, 1906. At this time their parochial school was started ! in St. Mary's basement in September 1906. The teacher was Stella Hartman from 1907 to 1910. She became a Sister of .St. .Joseph in 1914. Since August 19, 1939, the Sisters of SS. Cyril and Methodius conduct the school. The first mass was said in the new church, before it was finished in June 1907. June 13, 1907,' Rev. Kennedy moved into the new rectory. July 7, 1907, Bishop Shanahan blessed the church. Dr. Alex Dianiska of Plymouth preached the sermon. Monsignor Adam Crist was the celebrant of the mass. September 1907, the parochial school was moved to the basement of the new church, where it remained till 1911. Then Rev. Kennedy purchased a building and an open lot across the street from the church. This is the site of the new school. The old building, which housed the school up to now, will be removed. By January 1, 1919, the church was debt free. It was renovated in 1952. Rev. Kennedy was transferred to St. Joseph's, Milton, April 9, 1928. He died at Milton in 1933. After a temporary pastor had served a short time, a son of the congregation, Rev. John J. Onofrey, was appointed pastor. Later Rev. Cletus Hclfrich became pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. An- drew J. Hazuda. The present pastor, Rev. Hager, is serving since April 25,- 1940. The church has a membership of 923 souls. There are *bnly two other Slovak churches in the diocese. Not only has the parish shown a spirit of sacrificial giving on the part of the members but a number of its sons and daughters are engaged in full time religious 'service. Three sons of the parish are ordained priests: Rev. John J. Ono- *rey, Rev. Charles Dombrowski and Rev. Stephen Tatar, serving as an air force chaplain with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Four daughters of the parish are nuns: Helen Krizovenski (Sister M. Mark), Julia Oveca (Sister M. Curine), Mary Gerrel (Sister M. Rosaria) and Anna Herchock (Sister M. Alacoque). Thomas, Kujvesky and Leroy Spisak are students in St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland. LEUITZ ENTIRE 24" WIDE 20" DEEP

Clipped from
  1. Lebanon Daily News,
  2. 12 Dec 1954, Sun,
  3. Page 5

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