St. Sylvester Parish celebrates 100th anniversary

St. Sylvester Parish celebrates 100th anniversary

By Paul Paterra


SLICKVILLE – St. Sylvester Parish celebrated its 100th anniversary Sunday, June 20 and Bishop Larry J. Kulick said the parish has existed for so long due to faith, prayers and perseverance from its many parishioners and pastors.

“They found peace. They found safety. They found security, because their faith was strong and their belief was resilient,” said Bishop Kulick, who celebrated the anniversary Mass. “They persevered through their journey because their faith was real.”  

Current Pastor Father John J. Harrold welcomed everyone to the centennial celebration Mass and set the stage for the parish’s next 100 years.

“We will continue to live the faith in Slickville as we start into the second century,” Father Harrold said.

Among those who attended the Mass were some of the former pastors of St. Sylvester Parish – Father Richard J. Kosisko, Msgr. Raymond E. Riffle, Father Anthony J. Carbone, Father James M. Goldberg and Father Salvatore R. Lamendola.

The Gospel (Mark 4:35-41) described a storm in the Sea of Galilee and the chaos that faced Jesus and his disciples. Jesus calmed the storm, asking his disciples to have faith and not be afraid.

During his homily, Bishop Kulick said those involved in the development of St. Sylvester parish 100 years ago faced different type of storms, such as the challenges for those people, many of whom were immigrants establishing new lives in a foreign land.

“They navigated through these difficult waters with responsibilities that we could hardly imagine,” Bishop Kulick said. “What allowed them to cross over the sea of chaos in their life and face one challenge after another – their faith.”  

Monday, June 21 actually marked the exact date of the parish’s 100th anniversary. The original St. Sylvester Church was dedicated on June 21, 1921.

Other significant dates in the history of St. Sylvester Parish are:

  • An addition was added on to the original church in 1932.
  • Benedictines served the parish from 1920-1961.
  • Father Edwin H. Hirt was the first resident pastor from 1961-1967. Fourteen pastors and two deacons have succeeded Father Hirt to the present.
  • The ground breaking for the “new” church took place on Dec. 31, 1961.
  • The current St. Sylvester Church was dedicated on Aug. 11, 1963.

Bishop Kulick expressed gratitude to every member of the St. Sylvester Parish family, past and present, for 100 years of service to God.

“Thank you and all of those who have gone before you for the wonderful work you have done over this last century in not only proclaiming the Gospel message, but indeed being a viable and living witness to Christ and to the message of his church in this community and beyond,” Bishop Kulick said. “Not only your own personal fidelity, but your charity, your community outreach and the wonderful example you have given with your daily lives have been a tremendous sign of the Kingdom of God.”


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