A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN BOSCO
"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."
In July of 1959, something ordinary and remarkable happened in the Diocese of Scranton. An envelope was delivered to then Bishop Jerome D. Hannan. Ordinary enough. The extraordinary thing is that it contained a letter from twenty Conyngham/Sugarloaf families ending with a simple statement: "We feel the Catholic population has become large enough to support a church or a mission." And so we began.
The Spirit moved through those founding families just as it did the early disciples. They listened and acted by making their request known to their Bishop, the pastoral leader of the Diocese. He, in turn, conducted a census of Catholic families in the Western Valley and discovered more than one hundred, all of them traveling considerable distances to worship at various churches in the Hazleton area.
A decade earlier and with great foresight, Bishop William J. Hafey acquired the land that is now our campus. Once again, the Spirit moves. After meticulous planning, construction began early in 1963 and on December 15th, St. John Bosco Church was dedicated.
Many joyful "firsts" were celebrated by our new and growing parish family:
- Msgr. Joseph T. Shaughnessy, first Pastor - March 8, 1964
- Michael Anthony Maylath, first Baptism - March 29, 1964
- First celebration of First Eucharist - June 28, 1964
- Carol Hyde and Michael Drewniak, first Wedding - July 4, 1964
- First celebration of Confirmation - November 9, 1966
Like all families, a parish family is made up of many members and some memorable leaders. And while all our pastors, associate pastors, resident priests and pastoral staff have nurtured our family by generously sharing their gifts, by laying down their lives for us, some remain especially present to us:
Msgr. George T. Casey, fourth pastor and known as the "people's priest," built the Parish Center in 1973.
Sister Ann Bernadette McGough, RSM, served brilliantly as Director of Religious Education from 1982 until her death on December 1, 1990.
Rev. John K. Manno, dynamic seventh pastor, from 1984 to 1998, successfully launched a $1.1 million capital campaign and oversaw the construction of our current church building, dedicated on December 6, 1992.
Msgr. Joseph C. Bambera, currently Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton and much-loved eighth pastor, inspired his parishioners and served with dedication from 1998 to 2001.
All along the way, countless individuals have answered the call to servant leadership by giving their time, talent and treasure in order to advance the Kingdom:
- Ministers of the Eucharist
- Ministers of the Word
- Music Ministry
- Altar Servers
- Faith Formation
- Youth Ministry
- Liturgy Committee
- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
- Weekly Stewardship
- Salvation Army Outreach
- Valley Food Pantry Outreach
- Parish Pastoral Council
- Parish Finance Council
- Annual "Grey Dog" Raffle
- Annual Spring Fling Flea Market
- Annual Golf Tournament
- Annual Spaghetti Dinner
So this is our history. It is the story of how we came to be, how we've grown, and who we are. In thanksgiving and with God's grace, Jesus Christ at our side, and the Spirit within us, we joyfully continue to write our story...