Parish History

On August 22nd, 1950, Bishop George L. Leech of the Diocese of Harrisburg announced that, effective September 1, 1950, a new parish would be formed in Elysburg. This parish was to be named after Mary and called "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary". Rev. Thomas Eovacious was named as the first pastor. He held the first Mass on September 1, 1950 in the temporary church; what is now the rectory. In 1951, an eager parish began plans to build a church. Architects from Starr and Long in Harrisburg began these plans with Strausser Construction Company from Beaver, PA to serve as the general contractor. The cost of this new building was to be $64,134.

March 3, 1951 truly marked the beginning of the construction of the new church as Bishop Leech presided at the groundbreaking ceremony. With Bishop Leech presiding, the first Mass at the new church was said on October 28, 1951 followed by a blessing and dedication of the church and social hall that afternoon. Amidst all of this great joy, there was a feeling of sadness as Father Eovacious was stricken ill just a few days before the ceremony. Eight days later, the first funeral Mass was held in the new church, that of Father Eovacious. Succeeding him as pastor was Father Ferdinand Gruss.

Through the next 25 years many pastors came and went (for a list, please see the bottom of this page), until Father Charles Slough was appointed pastor on February 5, 1976. Father Slough, along with members of the Advisory Council, perceived that growth in the valley would necessitate the expansion of church facilities. It was recognized that the current accommodations for Mass and religious education were inadequate. On May 6, 1979, a parish referendum voted over 75% to hire the architectural firm of A. Robert Brooks and Associates of Sharon, PA to study the parish's growing needs. The architects recommended that a new church be built and the existing church be converted into a religious education building. These recommendations were accepted and once plans were approved by the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Project Construction Company of Paxinos was hired to build the new church with the low bid of $542,000. Groundbreaking for this new church was held after the 6:30 Mass on August 23, 1980 with Bishop William Keeler, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, presiding.

On July 29, 1981, the first Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Daley in the new Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church. Immediately following this Mass, the renovation of the old church began as the social hall and part of the nave were converted into classrooms and the sanctuary and a small part of the nave were retained as a chapel. On October 4, 1981, the official Dedication and Consecration of the new church was held with Bishop Daley as the principal celebrant. He was assisted by Bishop Keeler, Father Slough, pastor, and Father Lahout and Monsignor Leitch, former pastors. Father Slough closed this festive occasion with the following remarks: "My deepest appreciation to so very many of you, partners in God, through Mary. We can all be humbly proud of this church in the valley, which you have built with your sacrifices. I know that I am deeply proud and appreciative of all of you who have made this dream the wonderful reality it is today. A few said, 'It can't be done'; but so many more said, 'Let us try". And try you have! God love you! My faith as your priest is sustained and nourished by your faith. Let it suffice to say that God has brought us together on this magnificent occasion, as His people. Jesus tells us that a woman, after giving birth, forgets her past pain in her present joy. We certainly have gone through labor and suffering, but now we have the joy of having brought forth a new Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church. But we were never alone. We always had God and our Blessed Lady with us. So fitting then, to us of this generation, are the words of our first parish builder, Father Thomas Eovacious, written on the occasion of the dedication of the first church, 'We offer every step, every obstacle, and every burden to Our Blessed Mother as stars in her crown. We implore her continued guidance and help'."

As the years went by a need for an education center became more obvious as the number of students in our CCD classes continued to grow. A group of parishioners approached Father Slough with the idea of adding a building featuring a gymnasium and additional classrooms behind the church. However, complications arose and the project was abandoned. Shortly after his arrival, Father Al Sceski saw that additional space was needed to address crowded classrooms and safety issues in the educational center. He formed a committee to study the issue and make recommendations for a possible building project which, after several revisions, was approved by the Diocese. A campaign began to raise funds for this projected $750,000 project and then in 2008 our new Parish Center opened. Several years later Father Al and the Parish Council felt that the church sanctuary needed updating and a renovation project was begun that gave the interior the more modern look that you see today.

Pastors and date appointed:

Reverend Thomas Eovacious ... September 1, 1950

Reverend Ferdinand Gruss ... November 23, 1951

Reverend James Coyle ... August 10, 1954

Reverend Boleslaus Stankiewicz ... November 8, 1957

Reverend Cletus Hauck ... August 20, 1959

Reverend Monsignor Thomas Leitch ... February 21, 1963

Reverend Francis Filipelli ... June 30, 1964

Reverend James Noel ... May 28, 1965

Reverend Francis Lahout ... May 31, 1968

Reverend John Gunville ... May 29, 1970

Reverend Bernard Mattern ... June 1, 1973

Reverend Charles Slough ... February 5, 1976

Reverend Al Sceski ... June 15, 2006

Reverend Joseph Scanlin ... June 21, 2015