Parish History

Our Parish History – In the early years of the 20th Century, Slovak Catholic families left their homeland and came to America to make a new beginning. They settled in and around Egypt, Ormrod, and Cementon where many of the men worked in the cement mills and related industries. They traveled on foot to attend Mass in Catasauqua and Northampton. By the late 1920’s there were 56 Slovak families in the area of Egypt. The local Giant-Portland Cement Company generously permitted the Catholic families to use one of its buildings in lower Egypt as a place for Sunday Mass. Representatives of these families began to petition the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, to establish a Catholic parish in Egypt to meet their spiritual needs. In June, 1928, Father Michael J. Holly was appointed by Cardinal Dougherty to found the new parish. Holy Trinity’s first collection amounted to $19.00.
            In February 1929, Father Holly obtained the property at the corner of Main and Church Streets. The home (currently the Rectory) was built in 1880 by Eugene M. Long, a local businessman who owned the Egypt Hotel. The house and property were purchased for $24,000. Soon Mass began to be celebrated on the first floor, while the second floor was the pastor’s living quarters. On May 12, 1929, 29 children received their First Holy Communion and five days later, Cardinal Dougherty visited and confirmed 29 boys and 25 girls. In the parish’s first year, 29 infants were baptized.
            In June 1929, work began to renovate a barn located on the property. There were only sixty families in the parish, and many donated far beyond their means to cover the $4,225 cost of renovation.
            On October 23, 1930, Fr. Holly was transferred and Father John Matlos became Holy Trinity’s second pastor. During his nine years as pastor, several renovations to the church property were made, including the addition of a new church organ and bell.
            In 1939, Fr. Michael G. Ditsky became the third pastor of Holy Trinity. He would remain here for 36 years. In the first six years of his pastorate, Fr. Ditsky cleared the parish of all its debt. He also initiated renovations and improvements of the rectory, the grounds and the church, including new Stations of the Cross.
            On January 28, 1961, Pope John XXIII established the Diocese of Allentown, formed from the five northern counties of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Holy Trinity was now a part of a new diocese, shepherded by its own bishop, Joseph McShea, the first Bishop of Allentown.
            Holy Trinity’s membership continued to grow through the 1960’s.     A fund was initiated to begin raising capital for a more adequate church building. Excavation of our present church began in September 1964, and the church was competed in May 1966. The first Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on June 5, 1966, the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Bishop McShea officiated at the Dedication Ceremony on September 18, 1966.
            Because of Fr. Ditsky’s declining health, Bishop McShea named Msgr. Raymond F. Merman administrator of the parish on August 19, 1975. Two months later, Fr. Ditsky was named Pastor Emeritus and Msgr. Merman became Holy Trinity’s fourth pastor. During Msgr. Merman’s nine year pastorate there was growth in many areas of parish life.  The ministry of cantor was initiated, a Parish Youth Group was formed, and Christ the King, a regional Catholic elementary school was established.  Also, the children’s religious education program was expanded thanks to the dedication of many volunteer catechists.
            In December 1984, Msgr. Aloysius R. Callaghan was named Holy Trinity’s fifth pastor. After only 18 months as pastor, Msgr. Callaghan received an appointment to a curial office at the Vatican and in 1986 Father Ronald W. Gainer was named Holy Trinity’s sixth pastor. (Msgr. Gainer was ordained and installed in February 2003, as Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky.)
            As Holy Trinity continued to grow during Msgr. Gainer’s pastorate, additional programs were initiated to meet our pastoral needs. Among them were Kids Praise Too, a week-long summer program for children; adult Bible Study; and Little Christians, a Sunday-morning program for pre-school. The parish began to implement the RCIA and commissioned its first group of Eucharistic Ministers. Also, the parish picnic was revived and the Parish Finance Council was formed. In December 1987, we welcomed our first Permanent Deacon, Deacon Gene Wyrwa. Deacon Mike Laroche joined us in 1999. The parish had grown to 700 families.
            Two projects in 1993 involved major external improvements. The retaining wall along the South Church Street property line was removed. New sidewalks and a new walk to the rectory were installed. Not only did “the wall come tumbling down”, but also in August, a 20-year lease was signed with Egypt UCC Church (now Egypt Community Church) for the use of 1.5 acres of the field adjacent to Holy Trinity’s property for the development of a much needed parking lot.
            In January 1999, Msgr. Gainer was appointed-Diocesan Secretary for the Secretariat for Catholic Life and Evangelization and Fr. Thomas D. Baddick (in February 2008, Msgr. Baddick) was named Holy Trinity’s seventh pastor. Fr. Baddick continued the work of his predecessors adding the clean teams and reworking the Basket Party into a major fundraiser for the parish. In 2003, we celebrated Holy Trinity’s Seventy-Fifth Diamond Jubilee.
            In March 2007, Fr. Thomas A. Derzack (in February 2008, Msgr. Derzack) arrived at Holy Trinity as our eighth pastor. He brought his quiet, contemplative manner, sense of humor, gift of decorating and his genuine love of the Lord as he ministered among us.
            In June 2009, Msgr. Daniel J. Yenushosky arrived as our ninth pastor. With 950 registered families at present, Holy Trinity parish continues to grow under his spiritual guidance.
            For over 88 years, Holy Trinity Parish has been the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters. We form a people born into Baptism, nourished by the Eucharist and empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry out the Church’s mission. We believe just as strongly as those who founded this parish that God is with us and that He will take care of us. The bond uniting us is nothing less than our faith in Jesus Christ. As one family, we celebrate our sharing in His dying and rising and we rejoice in our mission of bringing His love to the world.