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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary


had made for the occasion amid the dark green foliage which covered the rude walls; and just at midnight, when the people who had gathered from long distances through the wilderness of snow were hushed in rapt expectation, Father Gallitzin ascended the altar and commenced the mass. Never did the Gloria in Excelsis come more joyously and exultingly from his heart or lips than when he now, for the first time, opened and gave to the Incarnate Lord a refuge in the wilderness, a home on the Alleghenies.
    Shortly after the holidays, being anxious to provide for the poor settlers who were flocking to the settlement, he went to Conewago to procure seed and implements for the spring planting. From there, on February 9th, 1800, he wrote as follows to Bishop Carroll: “. . . . Our church which was only begun in harvest got finished fit for service the night before Christmas. It is about 44 feet long by 25, build of white pine logs, with a very good shingle roof. I kept service in it at Christmas for the first time, to the very great satisfaction of the whole congregation, who seemed very much moved at a sight which they never beheld before. There is also a house built for me, 16 feet by 14, besides a little kitchen and a stable. I have now, thanks be to God, a little home of my own for the first time since I came to this country, and God grant that I may be able to keep it. . . . .The congregation consists at present of about forty families, but there is no end to the Catholics in all the settlements round about me; what will become of them all, if we do not receive a new supply of priests, I do not know; I try as much as I can to persuade them to settle around me.” This was written in 1800, yet for more than twenty years afterwards he was obliged to administer, unassisted, to the spiritual wants of the constantly increasing population.
    In his history of the Pittsburg diocese, Rev. A. A. Lambing, LL. D., who in 1869 was stationed at St. Francis College, and assisted the pastor of St. Michaels's, Rev. Michael J. Mitchell, says: “The Loretto colony appears to have had as yet but one common center, although it was increasing in numbers and widening in extent, for the persecutions of

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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