Rev. Vasyl Kadar
Deacon: Deacon Steven F. White
714 Sutton StreetPunxsutawney, PA. 15767 Get Directions
At the turn of the century, Walston and Adrian were two thriving mining towns mostly comprised of Slavs and Hungarians. They banded together and worked diligently toward establishing the Byzantine Catholic Church and congregation in Punxsutawney, which was the center of the surrounding mining communities. Through the zealous and untiring efforts of Father John Sabo, the SS. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church parish was founded in 1893. The pioneer priest came with his family to Punxsutawney in December 1893. He was received by Mr. S. Keltonik, a Punxsutawney merchant, whose kindness and generosity made it possible for Father Sabo to begin the organization of the parish.
Father Sabo celebrated the first Sunday Liturgy in a private home in Adrian, Pa., in December 1893. Through the kindness of Mr. Robinson, manager of the P.R. and I. (Rochester and Pittsburgh) Coal Company, they secured a hall in Adrian and Father Sabo celebrated Divine Services in this building for almost a year.
The great coal strike of 1894 added to the hardships of this pioneer priest. When the strike ended, Father Sabo began with renewed vigor to work for a church and parish house. Ground was broken and the cornerstone of the original church, a wooden structure, was dedicated on May 12, 1895 by Father Hrabar of Philadelphia, Pa. On July 4, 1895 the completed church was solemnly blessed with Father Eugene Volkay of Brooklyn, N.Y. celebrating the Liturgy.
On May 30, 1901, in response to the invitation of Father Sabo, Most Reverend Bishop Fitzmaurice of the Erie Roman Catholic Diocese dedicated the new icon screen.
As time went on, the number of people in this parish increased and in 1904, plans for a new brick church were prepared by Mr. Marius Rousseau, an architect from Pittsburgh. This new church was modeled after the famous shrine of the Blessed Mother at Mariapocs in Hungary.
The contract for the building was awarded to James R. Long and Son for the sum of $15,500. The cornerstone was laid. The new church was completed the following year and solemnly blessed on September 4, 1905, by Very Reverend Andrew Hodobay, Apostolic Administrator.
In 1918 Father Paul Mankovich, who labored untiringly for his people for 25 years, became pastor.
In April 1943 Father Theodore Mankovich was transferred from St. Michael parish in Allentown, Pa., to continue the pastoral duties of his father. At that time the redecoration of the interior of the church was completed by the Rambusch Company of New York.
The 1950s found the SS. Peter and Paul parish growing under the guidance of Father Theodore. Following the Golden Jubilee, the parish grew and continued to celebrate each summer with a homecoming at the 7 ½-acre site known as the Adrian Picnic Grounds or “The Pines.”
The interior of the church underwent a major transformation during the early 1970s with the refurbishing of the ceiling murals, and general interior painting. The social hall in Adrian was remodeled and upgraded. Maintaining this building and the picnic area has enabled the parish to preserve its early tie to the community of Adrian.
During the early 1980s religious education classrooms were constructed on the second floor of the social hall. This permitted multiple classes to be conducted in the same area, giving the youth of the parish the opportunity to receive not only religious instruction, but also educational information related to their Byzantine Catholic Church.
With the passing of Father Theodore Mankovich in 1988, Father Theodore Seginak, OSB, became the spiritual leader of the parish. During his pastorate, extensive maintenance, updating and additions were completed. The church interior was painted and carpeting was installed. A confessional was built at the rear of the church, and an enclosed breezeway was constructed connecting the parish house with the church.
Currently, SS. Peter and Paul parish is shepherded by Reverend William A. Lascelles.