History of Our Mother of Consolation
OUR MOTHER of CONSOLATION
Established in 1896 to serve a growing Polish population in Mount Carmel.
First pastor: Rev. Benedict Tomiak
Last pastor: Rev. Raymond Kulwicki, C.S.Sp., Ph.D.
Noteworthy events. . .
* Initially, the Poles who settled in Mount Carmel in the late 1800s worshipped at Saint Joseph Church, the first Polish parish in the town. When their growing numbers necessitated a second Polish parish, Our Mother of Consolation was established.
* In 1896, approximately 150 families decided to purchase property on West Avenue to erect a new church. The majority were from that section of Poland which was under Russian domination. Among those who arranged the purchase were Charles Lucas, Adam Lackowicz, Paul Mikleski, Louis Czarnowski, and Peter Kostos.
* A two-story building was erected with the lower floor used as a school and the upper floor as a church. The first Mass was celebrated there on February 13, 1897.
* In 1903 the Holy Ghost Fathers assumed administration of the parish, and continued to serve as pastors throughout the rest of its history.
* Within only a few years of its existence, the parish had doubled its number of families and recognized the need for larger and more substantial accommodations than the original frame church. On August 15, 1905, a cornerstone was laid for a new church.
* On May 30, 1906, the Most Reverend John W. Shanahan, Bishop of Harrisburg, presided at the dedication and blessing of the new church.
* The growth of the parish school population resulted in the need for a new building. Begun in 1924, it was completed a year later. State-of-the-art for its time, the school had 16 classrooms, a large auditorium and stage, a cinema booth, and a kitchen and cafeteria. Felician Sisters staffed the school.
* Our Mother of Consolation School also housed St. Peter School on the second floor. The Felician Sisters also staffed St. Peter’s.
* During World War II, for four consecutive years, the 7:00 am Mass was celebrated each Sunday by then-pastor Father Joseph Skibinski for the welfare and safe return of the men and women from the parish who were serving their country.
* In the absence of a local U.S.O., the parish regularly hosted free lunches and free dances for visiting servicemen during the war years. The Saturday night dance guest book records the names of more than 7,000 members of the armed forces who attended.
* In 1964, the parish school became part of Holy Spirit School when the town’s parochial schools consolidated. The MOC building housed grades 5 through 8.
* In its history, Our Mother of Consolation Parish has given 14 priests and 48 Sisters to the service of the Church.
Did you know that Marion Heights and Roaring Creek were missions of Our Mother of Consolation until they became parishes?
(Sources: Golden Jubilee book, 1947; 100th Anniversary book, 1995; Mount Carmel Borough Sesquicentennial book, 2012)