Our Parish in History

Father Lemke,O.S.B..

Father Lemke, the founder of Carrolltown, was born in Rhena, Germany, July 27, 1795.

He converted to Catholicism and was ordained a priest April 1 1, 1826. 
When he came to America as a missionary in October, 1834, he was assigned to help Prince Gallitzin
in Loretto and Hart's Sleeping Place. 

Father Lemke, with his own money, bought 395 acres of land south of Hart's Sleeping Place
to start a Catholic community. He built a log cabin and chapel-the beginning of Carrolltown
and Saint Benedict Church. The town was named after Bishop John Carroll, the first
Catholic Bishop in the United States. 

Father Lemke was instrumental in the coming of the Benedictine Monks to the United States.
Father Boniface Wi mmer of Saint Michael Abbey, Metten, Germany, accepted his invitation to
come to Carrolltown. He and eighteen prospective monks arrived in Carrolltown September 30, 1846.
By special decree, the Benedictines were given permission to establish a Monastery in Carrolltown in 1848.
Father Lemke sold to the Benedictines 298 acres and the log buildings he had constructed.

​  In November, 1847, plans were started to build a new church on land donated by Father Lemke.
The church was completed and dedicated in honor of Saint Benedict December25, 1850.
The Parish was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus December 8, 1872. 

​ A new monastery was built in 1865. It was the center of missionary work in the area.
The Benedictines worked out of Carrolltown in Cambria, Blair, Clearfield, and Center Counties.
The monks traveled long distances on horseback. During stormy weather, the mountains of the
Carrolltown district "presented a dreary aspect and fearful dread." The Monastery was closed in 1962,
​and a new rectory was added to the Church building in 1972. 

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The Church Tower and cross were erected in 1872. ​The tower stands 172 feet;
the cross is nine feet high. A four-faced clock was installed in the tower's circular windows in 1899
and put into operation at 5 p.m., June 13, 1900.
Once a week the sexton climbed into the middle of the tower to wind the clock.

The Church bells were cast and installed during the construction of the tower. They were blessed on September 22, 1872.
During the blessing the bells were washed with holy water
and anointed with the oil ​of the sick and with holy chrism. 
The largest bell is dedicated in honor of the Sorrowful Mother;
the second bell in honor of Saint Joseph; the third in honor of Saint Mary Magdalene;
the small bell in honor of Saint Francis and Saint Henry. The bells were an integral part of the Parish.
They tolled the hour; the Angelus at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m.; the times of services; at the elevation at Mass and the blessing at Benediction; at the death of a Parishioner; in times of distress and in times of celebration.

​The stained-glass windows were installed in 1925 by the Art Glass Firm of Bavaria, Germany.
The scenes depicted starting from left to right are: ​

Christ manifests Himself at Emmaus

Saint Benedict receives Maurus and Placidus as pupils

The temptation of Saint Benedict

Saint Benedict gives the Rule to the Monks

Saint Benedict raises a child to life

Saint lldephonse of Toledo and Saint Peter of Cluny

Saint Willibard and Saint Willibrord

Saint Maurus and Saint Placidus

​Saint Bennet and Saint Dunstan

Saint Scholastica and Saint Gertrude

Saint Gregory and Saint Boniface

The death of Saint Benedict

Saint Benedict blessing the poisoned cup

Saint Benedict sees the soul of his sister in Heaven

Meeting of Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica

The Crucifixon

​Statues originally on the Altar imported from Bavaria have been placed in the back of the Church.
At center back is Saint Benedict with Maurus and Placidus; to their left, Saint Scholastica and to the right,
Saint Gertrude. In the left comer is Saint Anselm and in the right corner, Saint lldephonse.
Also from the Altar are the panels of the Altar of Sacrifice: Melchizedeck offering a sacrifice of bread and wine;
Jesus, Lamb of God; Abraham offering the sacrifice of his son Isaac.

The Parish is blessed to have the relics of the True Cross, Saint Benedict, and Saint Scholastica. 
​ Father Lemke donated ten acres to the Parish for a Church and cemetery.
The land used as a hitching post for the horses and wagons of the Parishioners had to be cleared
of trees, stumps, and rocks. The cemetery was laid out and blessed in 1854,
​and the graves around the Church were moved to the new cemetery. The center of the old cemetery contains a Section for the burial of Benedictine monks and sisters.
Father Lemke's grave is in the center and is marked with a monument. A Cemetery Association was organized in 1945 and has maintained the grounds since that time.

​ Benedictine Brothers conducted a school in the house of Father Lemke as early as 1855.
Later, classes were held in the basement of the new Church. A School and Convent were
constructed and blessed October 11, 1870. Three sisters from the Benedictine Convent in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, came to teach. In 1871,
Saint Scholastica Convent became the Mother house of the Benedictine Community until 1889
and was the beginning of the Benedictine Sisters of the Pittsburgh Diocese.
The Convent was razed in 1964, and the area is now the Church parking lot.
A brick school was built and blessed October 14, 1878. The School is now staffed by lay teachers
and one religious. Students not attending the parochial school are enrolled in the CCD program. The Rite of Christian Initiation process is also active in the Parish. 

​ Vocations from the Parish number 28 priests, four brothers, 83 nuns and include an Abbot and five Mother Superiors. 

The first societies in the Parish were the Rosary and Altar Societies founded in 1849 and 1850. Other organizations in the Parish are the Holy Name Society, Knights of Columbus, Saint John Society, Legion of Mary, Sacred Heart League, Cemetery Association, Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Parish Gardeners, MOMS Group, the Home School Association, the Adult Choir, and the Children's Choir.

Father Jude, Pastor, is assisted by Eucharistic Ministers, a School Council, and a Parish Council with supporting committees: Finance, Liturgy, Evangelization, Buildings and Grounds, and Education.

During the Church Year as we recall the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we celebrate with liturgy and with Parish activities. In addition, the daily Rosary, the weekly Holy Hour, the First Friday and First Saturday devotions help us to follow the events of His life more closely. 

​We thank God for our past and ask His blessing on the future with a prayer of Saint Benedict: That in all things God may be glorified.

Special Thanks to the Priest and Brothers from St. Vincents and the Benedictine Sisters from Pittsburgh who have served this parish faithfully for these many years.