Saint Mathias, Natrona

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Parish History

St. Mathias was founded as a Slovak parish in 1903.  The origin of the parish can be traced to the rise of Slovak immigration to Natrona.  At first, local Slovaks either attended the territorial parish of St. Joseph or the Polish parish of St. Ladislaus.  By the turn of the century, the Slovaks began making plans for their own parish.  Beginning in 1901, Slovak priests began visiting Natrona and fund raising for a new church began.  On February 16, 1903, land was purchased in Natrona for a church.  On October 29, 1903, a pastor was assigned for St. Mathias and for St. Clement, Tarentum.  At first, the priest lived in Natrona, but after a month the bishop directed him to move to Tarentum.  St. Mathias, therefore, became a mission of St. Clement.

In 1904, construction of St. Mathias Church began.  The completed church was dedicated on June 19, 1904.  In 1916, St. Mathias became an independent parish with the appointment of a resident pastor.

By the end of the century, the population of Natrona had dropped to the point that the community could no longer support three independent parishes.  In 1992, St. Mathias was merged with St. Joseph and St. Ladislaus to form a new parish, which was named St. Joseph.  Originally St. Mathias Church remained open but a little over a decade later, it became obvious to the parish that it did not need two church buildings.  On September 18, 2008, St. Mathias Church closed.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. Mathias Church, 1933
St. Mathias Church, 2002
Interior of St. Mathias, 1933
Interior of St. Mathias, 2002

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