Saint Barbara's Parish was originally founded as a Polish Roman Catholic Church in the year 1889. It was the Will of God that the Polish immigrants who settled in this coal mining region should have their own house of worship. Choosing the protectors of coal miners as their patron saint, the Polish people established a parish that would serve the needs of Catholics in this area.
October 27, 1970, the parish of St. Barbara, St. Lawrence, and Sacred Heart of Jesus were united as Christ the King Parish, Houtzdale.
Parishioners were made appeals to the pastor against this decision. Letters, visits and petitions were directed to the Bishop in Erie, the Papal Delegate in Washington and other church dignitaries, but they all fell on deaf cars. Even peaceful demonstrations, prayer vigils and mass meetings could not influence or persuade the irrevocable decision of the Church authorities.
The parishioners literally took over the closed church building and conducted their own services of hymns, the rosary and other prayers each Sunday until they were barred from using the building. This only strengthened their determination to succeed by holding services in front of the closed church doors.
The informal services were then transferred to the Lions Club, where the parish took on once again more formal organizations, yet without a priest, Holy Mass and the Sacraments could not be celebrated. Appeals were made to the Polish National Catholic Church for assistance and acceptance.
On Sunday, October 3, 1971, as the Polish National Catholic Church prepared to meet at the 13th General Synod, St. Barbara's Parish officially re-opened with Holy Mass celebrated by Father Joseph Pron of Johnstown, in Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. On the feast of Saint Barbara, December 4, 1971, the first permanent pastor was installed, Father Thaddeus Peplowski.
A history of the Polish Roman Catholic parishes in western Pennsylvania & their contribution, Rev. Joseph L. Sredzinski, Everson, Penna. 2000, p. 86.
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