1895 - 1919
"Memories of Wilkes-Barre"
by Father J.J. Curran
First Pastor of Holy Saviour Church
1945 - 1968
The members of the congregation received the joyful news of the appointment of the Rev. Peter A. Nolan, a native of Inkerman, in April, 1945, as the successor to Father O'Donnell.
When Father Nolan arrived the parish committees were engaged in making arrangements for the Golden Jubilee of the parish. This celebration consisted of a week of social activities from November 5 to November 9, 1945, and included games, dances and an entertainment. At "Old Home Week" many former members of the parish accepted invitations to be present. All the social events were held in the newly remodeled and redecorated parish auditorium.
In 1947, new lighting was installed in the church, the interior was completely redecorated and all the paintings restored. No sooner had all this work been finished, than the outside front steps of the church began to deteriorate and crumble, and upon investigation it was disclosed that they had incurred structural damage and were beyond repair. A new design was formulated and improvements included new steps with an easier access to the church, rest rooms and a cloakroom. The entire facade was changed when the work was completed and the comer stone is dated 1961.
During the pastorate of Father Nolan, after four long years, World War II came to an end. While the parishioners rejoiced and warmly welcomed the returning veterans home, hearts were still saddened by the deaths of twelve young men of the parish who had made the supreme sacrifice, and sympathy was extended to those wounded in action, and to those who had been held for years as prisoners of war.
An integral part of our parish history has been the functioning of the parish societies, which at this time, when the veterans were returning from military service, and women had not yet assumed an important part of the work force, was well organized, and the workers, untiring, in their efforts to promote the spiritual and social welfare of the parish.
The Holy Name Society was always very active. Their corporate monthly reception of Holy Communion and the annual Mother's Day Communion Breakfast, which during the late 1940's and into the 1950's, was usually attended by four hundred men, were an inspiration to all.
The youth of the parish benefited by the sponsorship of basketball teams, and financial assistance to the Boy Scouts by the Holy Name Society. In 1952 the Holy Saviour Youth Council was formed to establish Little League baseball in East End. Two teams were selected and joined with two teams each from Parsons and Miners Mills to form the Little Eastern League. The programs continued through 1962.
In 1963, after careful study, it was determined that there were sufficient players to have a four team Little League in East End. The Five Points Athletic Council was formed as a successor to the Holy Saviour Youth Council, and a new baseball program began. The program has continued over the years, under the Five Points Athletic Council, and is still in existence. Baseball for boys, and now, also for girls, has been provided in East End as a result of the early efforts of the Holy Saviour Youth Council, and later the Five Points Athletic Council.
The women of the Altar and Rosary Society and the Blessed Virgin Sodality received Communion each month and met regularly to recite the rosary and to plan events such as card parties, communion breakfasts and bake sales. Along with being enjoyable social events, the receipts from these affairs were used for flowers and the care and maintenance of the altars. Over the years, faithful members of the Altar and Rosary Society and the nuns of the parish also served as sacristans, cleaning and decorating the sanctuary, beautifying it at Christmas, Easter and throughout the year, enabling the faithful to better adore and worship God.
The School Guild, founded in the late sixties, and still in existence when the school closed, was an organization dedicated to cooperation among the pastor, teachers, administration, and parents. The goal of the organization was to strengthen the educational environment and to extend the growth and development of the children in the school.
For many years the School Guild sponsored the parish bazaar, donating all profits to the cost of the school's upkeep and operation. The organization was also involved in providing volunteers who assisted with the science fair, art projects and exhibits presented by the pupils, and volunteers who aided in the lunch program. Their valued service and commitment throughout the years enhanced and increased the quality of the education of the children enrolled in Holy Saviour School.
For twenty-one years Father Nolan, with his gentle manner and fatherly concern, ministered faithfully to the spiritual growth of his flock. In September of 1966 he was named Pastor Emeritus, and Rev. Daniel J. Brown was appointed administrator.
When Father Brown, a native of Wilkes-Barre, assumed his duties, further repairs were necessary on the church. After meeting with parish committees Father set out to incorporate a program which would embrace painting and repointing the exterior, replacing the stained-glass windows, repairs to the steeples and a new roof; and at the same time meet the requirements set up by Vatican II, which states in its Constitution on the Liturgy, among other things, that the altar shall be so arranged that the priest faces the people.
Today, inside the church as one faces the main altar, the spacious baptistry is visible at the left reminding the people of their Birth in Christ. The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament is at the right. Here the separation of the signs is in accordance with the emphasis of the Vatican Council on two different aspects - the Eucharistic Action at the altar, and the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The colors of the church interior are enhanced by the colors of the new stained-glass windows high above the congregation.
Before the work on the church was completed Father Brown was transferred from the parish and was made pastor of Queen of Peace Church in Brodheadsville.