Catholic Church celebrates 100 years

Nola Sizemore Staff Writer

September 11, 2013

The Catholic Church in Harlan County celebrated the 100th anniversary at the Church of the Resurrection in Lynch on Sunday.

Celebrating the event with Holy Trinity and Saint Stephen churches, over 100 former and present parishioners attended mass and a luncheon at the Benham School House Inn to mark the event.

“The first Catholic Church in Harlan County, Saint Mary Mission, was built in Benham in 1913,” said Norma Jo Dobos, anniversary committee chair. “At that time, Harlan County was the scene of great coal mining activity. The boom brought many Catholic immigrants, mostly Hungarian, Italian and Slavoc, to the Tri-City area and the need for a Catholic Church was evident. The Wisconsin Steel Company donated a church lot and erected a church. The Catholic Church Extension Society donated the altar. The seating capacity was approximately 100.”

Dobos said the Church of the Resurrection in Lynch was built in 1923.

“It was constructed completely out of stone, quarried from the mountainside in Lynch by Italian stone masons,” said Dobos. “One of the most attractive features of the church is the beautiful hand-leaded stained glass windows that were made in Italy and shipped to Lynch.”

Saint Stephen Church in Cumberland was constructed in 1940. It began as a two-story combination chapel and school building.

Holy Trinity Church in Harlan began in 1948.

“According to a deed dated Dec. 1, 1945, Mrs. W.F. Hall sold the land on which Holy Trinity Church now stands to the Diocese of Covington for $1 for the purpose of a hospital to be built,” said Dobos. “Before this could be realized, the United Mine Workers of America built the miners hospital, which is now Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital. Then, the idea of a church was born. This was an account from one of the founding members, Mrs. Jewel Noe.”

Assisting in the anniversary celebration were Bishop Ronald Gainer, Diocese of Lexington, Rev. Mani George, pastor/parish priest, Deacon Marco Raijkovich, Rev. Jay Von Handorf, Rev. Edward Brienz, Rev. Santosh Madanu and Rev. Steve Roberts.

“To all who prepared the church or assisted in any way, your efforts were appreciated,” said Dobos.

Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, nsizemore@civitasmedia.com