History

Prior Fathers in the church

This page (under construction) will have a short history of the church, from its founding to the present.  You are encouraged to offer information, pictures, and corrections as you see the need.  Thanks.

Church and Rectory under construction and earlier days

The Catholic Church in Lewis County

In 1895 St. Joseph’s Catholic Society was organized by a small group of Swiss settlers who brought their faith to Lewis County. By 1899 the church building was almost completed and the Diocese was sending the congregation a visiting priest.

Still too small to support a resident priest the Parish depended on these visiting priests who managed, at first, to come every three months. Later, as some of the original settlers left the area and economic conditions made it more difficult, a priest could only come once a year.

By 1940 the Church building was dismantled and priest visits stopped entirely. By 1956 h the Parish ceased to exist.

Then, in 1983, Bishop James D. Niedergeses picked a cluster of four counties in the southwest corner of his Diocese to be served by one priest. He asked Father Bertin Glennon.a Trinitarian Missionary, to take charge of the program for Lewis, Perry, Hickman and Wayne Counties.

Bishop Niedergeses bought a small house on five acres in Hohenwald. This was to house Father Glennon and his team of two assistants. After extensive repair and renovation it also became the temporary Church. On September 8, 1983 Father Glennon celebrated the first Mass with thirty-six parishioners in the living room. Services were soon moved to the enclosed carport which had to be used until the twin Geodesic Dome structure was completed in the spring of 1985. Bishop Neidergesses consecrated Holy Trinity Catholic Church on June 3, 1985.

In the following years the Parish has grown to 72 families containing over 120 people. Four long pews have been added to the original but folding chairs still crowd the doors on holidays and special occasions. The parking lot already expanded once, still needs more space often to accommodate visitors from all over the country, happy to find a Catholic Church in such a small rural community.

The congregation itself is now the new generation born here and new transplants still moving here from other states and even other countries. They have come from New York, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, California and New Hampshire. Others are from Canada, Mexico and the Philippines.

Also unexpected is the view of the Church from the quiet street. Spacious green lawns, tall trees and shrubs complement the twin Geodesic Domes that seem settled deep in the soil. A small brick and mortar Grotto built by a parishioner, Antonio Guerrero, stands a few yards from the Church entrance almost as an invitation for quiet thought or prayer.

The last Pastor of Holy Trinity Church as well as Christ the Redeemer in Centerville and St. Cecilia in Waynesboro left at the end of July after 18 years. He has been reassigned to St. Andrews in Sparta, Tn. Father Tien Thang Tran, who is originally from Vietnam, took over as Pastor of all three parishes, August 1, 2015.

Father Tran added a new culture to the already international congregation. He will find a diverse and growing community already talking about the need for a larger church and more classrooms for educating the coming generation.

The story of the Catholic Church in Lewis County has moved from the tale of long dormant seeds planted by Swiss settles to the history of a thriving, diverse and welcoming community. It is growing solid in the soil of Hohenwald and awaits telling in the next Chapter of the History of Lewis County. .

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