Catholics began to establish homes in Limestone Hill, Lackawanna, about 1850, and when the boys' home was brought here from Lancaster the Rev. James Early held services for them. A little frame church was built for them in 1850. In 1874 the brick church was built by the Rev. Thomas Hines, and was dedicated the year following. The school was opened the same year. A new school was built by Father Baker in 1894.

Father Hines continued to direct the affairs of the Protectory and the parish until 1877, when the Rev. Nelson Baker was appointed head of the institution. In 1924 Father Baker began the erection of the magnificent $2,000,000 Shrine of Our Lady of Victory, which was dedicated by Bishop Turner and Cardinal Hayes of New York, May 25, 1926.


The Lackawanna Steel Plant drew many people to Lackawanna about 1900, and in 1903 the Rev. John F. Ryan was appointed by the Bishop to establish another parish, on the Ridge Road near the Steel Plant. He built the church and rectory and started the school. He was succeeded in the spring on 1916 by the Rev. Thomas Blakeney. Father Blakeney died January 8, 1918, and was succeeded by the Rev. E.C. Widman. Father Widman was in charge for five years when the Rev. F.J. Hunt was appointed April, 1923.


A parish for the Polish people of Lackawanna was established shortly after St. Charles' was organized. The Rev. Dr. P. Szulca bought the property and built a combination church and school in 1904, and the church was dedicated under the title of St. Barbara, the fall of the same year. A rectory was also built shortly afterwards. The Rev. A. Garstka succeeded Dr. Szulea in May, 1906, and he built the convent for the sisters. The Rev. L. Podleswski was in charge from September 1910 to November 25, 1922, when the Rev. F. Radzeszewski was appointed pastor. Father Radzeszewski built the rectory in 1925.


On June 1, 1917, Bishop Dougherty commissioned the Rev. John P. Boland, D.D., to organize a parish for the Italians at Lackawanna. He first said Mass in the Club Room on Ingham Avenue. He bought a fine site on Ingham Avenue. Father Clemente came July, 1919. Father Clemente erected a combination church, school and dwelling the same year.

The following pastors had charge: Rev. A. Clemente, Rev. Raffaele D'Alfonso and Rev. Joseph Vifredo.

The church was dedicated December 16, 1917, by Bishop Dougherty.


In 1918 the Rev. Charles Boehm of Buffalo organized a new parish for the Hungarians at Lackawanna. The church was consecrated September 1, 1918, by the Reverend Monsignor Baker, with the Rev. Paul Bognar as first resident pastor.

The Rev. Arthur Varady was in charge from 1920 to January 1, 1923, when the Rev. Dr. Julius Zakany was appointed.


Bishop Dougherty appointed the Rev. Leo J. Medich, O.F.M., in 1917, to organize a parish for the Croatians who had established their homes in Lackawanna. Father Medich said Mass for his new congregation in January, 1917, in a temporary structure on the Ridge Road. The Rev. B. Badura came a few months later and started the brick church which was dedicated by Monsignor Baker, September 1, 1919. The rectory was built at the same time.


St. Michael the Archangel parish was established November 1, 1921. Property was purchased on Mersan Street and Electric Avenue and a new church was built the following year. The corner-stone was laid September 3, 1922, by the Right Reverend Monsignor Baker. It is a combination church, school and hall. The church was opened Easter, 1923, under the direction of the Rev. John P. Paul, the first pastor.

Dee Pavey