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Our Lady Queen of Angels Chapel

Our Lady Queen of Angels Chapel

Prior to the construction of St. John the Baptist Church, most of the residents of the Shade - Central City area attended Sacred Heart Church. The origins of the second Roman Catholic Church dedicated to St. John the Baptist reach back to 1917, when Fr. John A. Lach, then pastor of SS. Cyril & Methodius Church in Windber, read the first Mass in October, though he had begun the construction of the church in July of that year. The building, of frame construction, was dedicated in June 1918.St. John’s continued to be attended as a Mission from Windber until 1920.

During the pastorate of Fr. Michael J. Kallock, the frame church building was completely destroyed by fire on Christmas Day, 1920. The loss, including furniture was estimated $16,000.

The present church was built during the years 1921 and 1922 at an estimated cost of $100,000. It wasn’t until 1927 that the church was completed and dedicated.

Fr. Anthony C. Choby came from St. Stephen’s in Johnstown and began his duties in 1939. Fr. Choby’s major accomplishment was the establishment of St. John’sParochial School in the year 1943. In June, Fr. Choby received a letter that six Sisters from the Dominican Sisters would be sent to teach in Central City. The school opened on August 30th with an enrollment of 99 students on the first floor of the church building. Sister M. Gabrielle, O.P., was the first superior of the school.

The Catholic school was closed after the school term of 1952 with a registration of 122 students. At the time there were three Dominican Sisters and one lay teacher.

Fr. Choby died on October 1, 1953, while getting ready to celebrate the morning Mass.

In November of 1953, the church lighting fixtures were installed under the direction of pastor of the church, Fr. John J. Marnecheck.

In 1957, Fr. Marnecheck completed an extensive church improvement program of brick pointing of church and rectory, church painting after repairing of loose plaster, and rectory improvements.

In May 1958, Fr. John B. Golias came to the church. Extensive repairs continued on the church building and rectory, preparing for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the parish. It was during 1967 that the beautiful Fatima Shrine was erected on the grounds in front of the rectory commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s apparitions to the children of Fatima.

In July of 1968, Rev. Fr. Sylvester Bendzella was appointed as pastor of the church, serving until August of 1983. 

Rev. Fr. Lawrence Lacovic came to St. Johnin September of 1983. Fr. Lacovic was transferred to St. Stephen inJohnstown. Fr. Matthew Misurda was appointed pastor atSt. John in June of 1989, where he remained until July of 1990.

Rev. Msgr. Ignatius Wadas, who held the pastorship at Sacred Heart Parish in Central City, was the assigned toSt. John’sin addition to attending his duties at his own church in July of 1990. Since then, the church has been completely repainted and carpeting has been installed in the sacristy.

                                                                        - Fr. Donald W. Dusza
                                                                          The Legacy of Prince Gallitzin
                                                                          
A History of the Altoona Johnstown Diocese

In 1998, St. John the Baptist Church was combined with Sacred Heart of Jesus Church to form Our Lady Queen of Angels Church.