St. Michael (Shenandoah)
ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
114 SOUTH CHESTNUT STREET, SHENANDOAH, PA 17976
St. Michael’s Parish, founded by Ukrainian Catholics in 1884, is the first parish of the Greek Catholic Rite in America.
Ukrainian Greek Catholics migrated to America from Eastern Europe between 1860 and 1870 to seek a better life. They first settled in Massachusetts and Vermont. Some years later they settled in Pennsylvania, which was and still is a Ukrainian mecca.
The first liturgical service was held on December 18, 1884, at Kern Hall in Shenandoah. Reverend John Woliansky was appointed as the first Greek Catholic Priest in America.
As the congregation grew rapidly, there was a need for a larger church. In 1907 a plot of ground on Oak and Chestnut Streets was purchased and plans had begun to build a church and rectory. The first liturgy in this church was celebrated on Palm Sunday of 1909.
On the morning of April 7, 1980, a tragedy beset St. Michael’s. The Church with all its priceless antiques, religious art, and icons were completely destroyed by fire. The rectory was also destroyed. But the resilience of our Ukrainian Greek Catholic people was great and plans to rebuild had begun immediately. The rebuilding project was initiated and realized by then pastor and now our Auxiliary Bishop John Bura.
On November 27, 1983, the blessing of the cornerstone and first Divine Liturgy were held in the present church edifice.
St. Michael’s church is a treasure, a pearl of great value and a bit of nostalgia. It is a testimony to the great and resilient faith of our Ukrainian Greek Catholic pioneers in America, which is being handed down to future generations to cherish and preserve.