Holy Trinity Church
History of Holy Trinity Church
On Trinity Sunday, June 10, 1906, Bishop James J. Hartley presided over the dedication ceremonies of Holy Trinity Parish. Holy Trinity was established to meet the needs of the Catholics, primarily of Slovak heritage, in the Byesville area. Fr. Antonius Gracik was appointed first pastor in January 1906 and served nine months.
Fr. F. Richtarcik followed and served from October 1906 until February 1908. During this time the rectory was completed and the parish cemetery grounds were purchased. The first long-term pastor, Fr. E.S. Berr, served from 1908 until 1917. Holy Trinity saw its largest growth at this time, averaging 167 baptisms per year. Sadly, on February 11, 1915 a fire completely destroyed the church.
A new church building was begun in 1917. The first Mass in the new church offered on Christmas Day, 1918 by Fr. Alois Soukup, who served from 1917 until 1945. During his pastorate the eastern section of the parish was separated by the founding of Sts. Peter and Paul in Lore City. Shortly after Holy Trinity became part of the Steubenville diocese, Fr. Celestine Drexler, O.S.B. was named administrator and served from 1945 until the appointment of Fr. Stephen A. Laca in 1947.
It was under Fr. Laca that construction of the elementary school in 1949 and the convent in 1950 were completed. He also spearheaded the creation of Guernsey Catholic Central High (1964-1983). At this time, the Felician SIsters of Coraopolis, Pa and the Sisters of St. Joseph, Erie, Pa., also served the parish.
In August 1964, the Rev. Fr. William Yontz was appointed pastor and on June 17, 1973, blessed the cornerstone and three bells of the new church, pictured above.
Msgr. Yontz continued to serve Holy Trinity as pastor until his death on December 6, 2006. At that time, Holy Trinity Parish was served by the priests of St. Benedict and Sts. Peter & Paul until all three of the Guernsey County parishes were established as one new parish in 2009 as the present day Christ Our Light Parish.