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Chronology of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown

1754 Fort Duquesne is founded and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Alleghenies is built.

1770 Demetrius Gallitzin is born on December 22 at the Hague, Netherlands.

1785 Capt. Michael McGuire settles his family at McGuire’s Settlement, near what became Loretto.

1787  Gallitzin is converted from the Russian Orthodox Church to Roman Catholicism; Patrick Cassidy settles in Newry.

1792  Gallitzin sails to the United States from Rotterdam on August 18. On November 5, Demetrius enters the Sulpician Seminary in Baltimore under the name Augustine Schmet (Smith).

1794 First Settlement established at Johnstown.

1795 Ordination of Gallitzin on March 18 by Bishop John Carroll. He is posted to the Conewago Mission in Pennsylvania. While there, he answers a sick call to McGuire’s Settlement.

1799 Bishop Carroll appoints Father Smith Pastor of McGuire’s Settlement. On December 25, Father Smith celebrates Midnight Mass in the newly- constructed Saint Michael’s Church.

1800  Baptism of the first infant born in McGuire’s Settlement – Joseph Bradley, son of Charles and Mary Bradley.  Around this time, Father Smith established the community of Loretto, in honor of the Shrine of Our Lady in Loreto, Italy.

1802  Father Smith becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States.

1808  Bishop John Carroll is proclaimed by Pius VII the first Archbishop of Baltimore. The Diocese of Philadelphia is established, with Michael Egan as its first Bishop.

1809  Father Smith receives legal permission to resume the use of his real name, Rev. Demetrius Gallitzin.

1811  Bishop Egan visits Loretto and confirms 198 of Gallitzin’s parishioners.

1815  Death of Archbishop John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore and architect of the Catholic Church in the United States.

1816  Gallitzin publishes his Defense of Catholic Principles. Saint Patrick Church in Newry is constructed and becomes the second parish in the area.

1817  Gallitzin constructs a second, large-frame church at Loretto. Gallitzin’s sister, Marianne, marries and so deprives her brother of his rightful inheritance.

1819  Gallitzin publishes An Appeal to the Protestant Public in reply to Vindication of the Doctrines of the Reformation.

1820  Gallitzin publishes A Letter to a Protestant Friend on the Holy Scriptures.

1823  Around this time, Gallitzin is appointed Vicar General of Western Pennsylvania.

1829  Rev. Patrick Rafferty is appointed Assistant Pastor to Gallitzin.

1832  Gallitzin oversees construction of a larger house and adjoining chapel, the present Prince Gallitzin Chapel House.

1834  Gallitzin is thrown from his horse and suffers an injury to his leg; the injury is complicated by a hernia from which Galltizin never recovers. Rev. Peter Lemcke is appointed assistant.

1835  Johnstown’s first parish is established – Saint John Gualbert.

1836  Gallitzin publishes The Bible: Truth and Charity.

1840  Rev. Demetrius Gallitzin dies on May 6; Gallitzin is buried on May 9.

1841  Saint Mary Parish, Hollidaysburg, is founded.

1843  Creation of the Pittsburgh Diocese by Pope Gregory XVI.

1847  Gallitzin’s remains are exhumed and moved to a vault outside the church entrance. Franciscan friars arrive at Loretto from Ireland and establish Saint Francis School for Boys.

1848  Sisters of Mercy arrive in Loretto.

1849  The city of Altoona is founded.

1853  Sisters of Mercy establish the Saint Aloysius School for Girls. The city of Altoona receives its first resident pastor, Father John Tuigg.

1854  The third church is built at Loretto; it is constructed of brick and dedicated by Saint John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia.

1860  Immaculate Conception Church (“Old Saint Marys”) in Altoona is built for German Catholics.

1869  Sisters of Saint Joseph establish a foundation at Ebensburg.

1876-77  The Diocese of Allegheny has its brief life.

1889  The Johnstown Flood brings massive devastation and death. Saint John Gualbert Church is destroyed in a fire.

1899  Centennial of the founding of Loretto. Archbishop John Ireland, of St. Paul, Minnosota, dedicates the enlarged and expanded tomb of Rev. Gallitzin. Charles Schwab donates funds and makes possible the construction of the fourth church at Loretto, the present Saint Michael’s.

1901  Completion of the present Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel. The Diocese of Altoona ie established by Pope Leo XIII. Bishop Eugene Garvey is named its first Bishop.

1909  Saint John’s Orphanage is opened.

1910  Mercy Hospital, Johnstown, is opened by the Sisters of Mercy.

1912  Bishop Garvey opens an ecclesiastical seminary at Loretto.

1917  Saint Mary’s Orphanage is opened and run by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

1920  Bishop John J. McCort becomes the second Bishop of Altoona.

1924  Groundbreaking is held for the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

1926  Bishop McCort invites Discalced Carmelite Nuns from France to establish a community in the Altoona Diocese.

1930  Carmelite Monastery of Loretto is completed with funds donated by Charles Schwab.  Bishop McCort launches program to assist the many victims of the Great Depression.

1931  The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is dedicated.

1934  Bishop McCort establishes The Catholic Register, the Diocesan newspaper.

1935  Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth assume management of Mercy Hospital, Altoona.

1936  Bishop Richard T. Guilfoyle becomes the third Bishop of Altoona. Another flood devastates Johnstown.

1939  Mount Aloysius Junior College is founded by the Sisters of Mercy.

1940  A pageant is held in honor of Rev. Gallitzin; it follows a Pontifical Mass celebrated by Bishop Guilfoyle.

1942  A fire destroys the principal building of Saint Francis College; included in the damage was virtually the entire Gallitzin library of 200 irreplaceable books.

1946  By this year, Bishop Guilfoyle confirmed more than 29,000 young people and ordained 108 priests.

1951  The Shrine of Our Lady of the Alleghenies is dedicated by Bishop Guilfoyle.

1957  The Diocese of Altoona is renamed the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.  Saint John Gualbert Church becomes Co-Cathedral. Bishop Howard J. Carroll becomes the fourth Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown.

1958  A fire destroys the 45,000 volume library at Saint Francis College.

1959  Bishop Carroll officiates at the groundbreaking of a new Franciscan major seminary in Loretto.

1960  Bishop Carroll McCormick becomes the fifth Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown.

1962-65  Bishop McCormick attends Vatican Council II.

1966  Bishop James Hogan is appointed sixth Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown.

1970  Bicentennial of Rev. Gallitzin’s birth is celebrated.

1971  The Carmelite Community of the Word is founded.

1979  Saint Francis Seminary, Loretto, closes its doors.

1987  Bishop Joseph V. Adamec becomes the seventh Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown; he is the first Bishop ordained in the Diocese.  The Co-Cathedral of Saint John Gualbert is consecrated Saint John Gualbert Cathedral.

1989  The 100thAnniversary of the Johnstown Flood.

1990  The 150thAnniversary of the death of Rev. Gallitzin. The Prince Gallitzin Cross Award is established by Bishop Adamec.

1991  Mount Aloysius Junior College becomes a four-year college.

1996  Saint Michael the Archangel Church is designated a Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II.

1999  Bicentennial celebration of the founding of Saint Michael Parish by Prince Gallitzin and the birth of Loretto.  The relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux visit the Diocese.  Bishop Adamec dedicates the Prince Gallitzin House in Mandeville, Jamaica.

2000  The Church celebrates the Jubilee Year.

2001  The 100thAnniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

2010  Bishop Adamec blesses the Papal Insignia at the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Loretto.

2011 Bishop Mark L. Bartchak is ordained and installed as the eighth Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown

2013 The Diocese marks the conclusion of the Diocesan Phase of the Cause for Canonization of the Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin.

2016 Catholic elementary schools in the Altoona and Johnstown areas regionalize into one school with three campuses.

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