Incarnation Altar

About Us

Incarnation of Our Lord Parish is a Catholic community in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The parish is a merged parish which was established in 2008 from the Slovak, Hungarian, Slovenian, Polish, and Italian Catholic Churches in the Southside of Bethlehem. We are now a territorial parish serving the needs of all in the Southside Bethlehem neighborhoods in addition to the former members of the five mother Churches. Incarnation of Our Lord Parish also has a sister parish Holy Ghost. The two parishes share a liturgical schedule, common prayer, and a mission to serve the Southside Bethlehem.

History

Incarnation of our Lord Parish in Bethlehem was established on July 15, 2008. Msgr. William T Baker S.T.L was appointed as the first pastor and officially installed by Bishop Cullen on October 12, 2008. Incarnation was formed by the consolidation of five older neighboring Bethlehem parishes that included: Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Our Lady of Pompeii of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, St. John Capistrano Parish, Saint Stanislaus Parish, and Saint Joseph’s Parish. The Solemn Opening of Incarnation parish took place on July 18, 2008 with representatives from each of the closed parishes participating in the liturgy.

Please click on the following Churches to find out more about their history:

Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish

In January 1891 Saints Cyril and Methodious became a parish and was the first Slovak parish in what was then the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The mission church was begun July 20, 1890 by a group of Slovak Catholic immigrants and Msgr. William Heinen of Mauch Chunk. During the years 1890 to 1891 the Slovaks worshiped at St. Bernard. In these two years Msgr. Heinen visited the parish quite frequently because he was able to speak Slovak fluently. The Slovaks had an opportunity of hearing a sermon in their native tongue for the first time since they arrived in Bethlehem. In early 1891 plans were made for the erection of the church building and an entire block of land was purchased from Lehigh University. Msgr. William Heinen aided in the establishment of this new parish and the cornerstone of the church was laid on May 24, 1891. The first church was built at Linden and Thomas Streets and dedicated by Msgr. Heinen on November 30, 1891. Father John Novaky was appointed as the first pastor and built the first rectory on Linden Street in 1892. Construction on a new church at Thomas and Buchanan Streets was begun in 1903 and completed in 1905. The first mass was celebrated in the new church on Pentecost Sunday 1906. Return…

Our Lady of Pompeii of the Most Holy Rosary Parish

Our Lady of Pompeii of the Most Holy Rosary Parish was established in 1902. The parish grew out of about 15 Italian immigrant families that petitioned Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan in Philadelphia to appoint a priest who could speak their native tongue in 1901. In response Fr. Maggio was sent to them in the fall of 1901 and became the first Italian pastor of the Lehigh Valley. Masses were celebrated at Holy Infancy Church but plans were soon made to erect their own church. A plot of ground was donated and the cornerstone of the original brick church was laid on April 26, 1902. Fr. Ferdinando Gheradelli became pastor in 1911. In 1918 he oversaw the expansion of the church building during March and April 1956. The old church was torn down and construction on the new church began. The church was completed and mass held on April 27, 1957. A new rectory was built in 1963. Msgr. Paul Della Picca S.T.D served as the last pastor of our Lady of Pompeii of the Most Holy Rosary Parish. Return…

St. John Capistrano Parish

St. John Capistrano Parish was established in 1903 when Archbishop Patrick Ryan of Philadelphia appointed Father Alexander Varlaky to organize the first Hungarian parish of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Early services were held in the stone basement church. In 1909 a school and convent were added to complete the building. Sisters of the Mission Workers of the Sacred Heart were placed in charge of the school. In 1918 Father Joseph Reseterics was appointed as pastor. The cornerstone of the new church was blessed on August 20, 1922. Formal dedication of the completed church took place on September 3, 1923. The Polish sisters were replaced by the Hungarian nuns Sisters of Divine Charity in 1920. A major remodeling of the school and church began in 1969. Four frescoes were painted in the sanctuary and changes were made to the pulpit and the main altar. Founders Hall was built in the church basement in 1978. In June 1981 St John Capistrano School was closed followed by the convent in 1985. After city inspectors condemned the school building the structure was demolished in the fall of 1986. Father Edward Bolez THF served as the last pastor of St. John Capistrano Parish. Return…

Saint Stanislaus Parish

St. Stanislaus Parish in Bethlehem was established in 1906. In June 1905 Father Francis Wieszox was authorized to form a parish for Polish Catholics in Bethlehem. With the support of the pastors of the Hungarian parish of St. John Capistrano services were first held there. St. Stanislaus Church was begun in 1905 and completed by 1906. Father Raymond Slezak M.Div served as the last pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish. Return…

Saint Joseph’s Parish

St. Joseph Parish in Bethlehem was established in July 1913 by Father Anselm Murn a Franciscan father. Services were first held in the basement of the Holy Infancy Church. The cornerstone of the church was blessed by Msgr. Masson of July 4, 1914. The first services were held on November 13, 1916. The parochial school was dedicated by Msgr. Joseph Whitaker on July 5, 1926. The school was staffed by the sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King who arrived at the parish on August 24, 1926. The parish was served by the Franciscan Fathers from its inception until 2004. Although the original priests were Slovene, Croatian priests began ministering to the parish since a charter change in 1927. St. Joseph’s school was closed in 1977. Father Lawrence Frankovich became pastor in June 1985. During his four year tenure the former baptistry was converted into a reconciliation chapel. Father Raymond P Slezak M.Div served as the last pastor of St. Joseph Parish. Return…