Thomas the Apostle Church - History
Thomas the Apostle Church in Little Meadows, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania,
was originally a part of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Friendsville, Pa.
In 1887, Reverend John J. Lally
of Friendsville finalized plans for the building of a church in Little
Meadows. On June 22, 1887, the cornerstone for what was to become St. Thomas
the Apostle Church was laid by Rt. Reverend William O'Hara, D.D., Bishop
The consecration of the church
was completed and the building was dedicated on September 23, 1888. It
was not until 1890 that the Catholic community served by the church was
established as a separate parish.
On September 3, 1890, Reverend
P. J. Colligan was assigned as the first pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle
When the new pastor arrived, he
found about 90 Catholic families of mostly Irish descent scattered across
Apolocon Township in Susquehanna County and west to Windam in Bradford
County. Reverend Colligan erected a parochial residence in the spring
The small community was also served
at that time by St. Luke's Church situated in Warren, in Bradford County,
Pa., which had been constructed in 1867. St. Luke's became a mission church
of the new parish.
According to the pastor's journal,
Mass was celebrated every Sunday at 9:00 am and 11:00 am, alternating between
St. Luke's and the new church in Little Meadows.
Instruction in Catechism were
held before and after Mass each Sunday.
During the winters, however, owing
to the severity of the weather and impassability of the roads, Mass was
said every two weeks only, at 11:00 at St. Luke's Church in Warren. The
center of parish life was already moving toward the parish church at Little
In 1945, after World War II, St.
Luke's Church was closed, and the building was moved south to Wyalusing
to serve the needs of Catholics in that area. A cemetery which grew up
around St. Luke's is still maintained as part of St. Thomas Parish.
In the intervening years, the
population of St. Thomas Parish grew only slightly. Additional land was
acquired near the church and various buildings served the social needs
of the parish. Land was also acquired in the parish's early years on Route
858 for use as a parish cemetery.
The present parish hall was built
by parishioners in 1960 during the pastorate of Reverend Charles J. O'Donnell.
In 1975, the history of the parish
almost reversed itself. In that year, Most Reverend J. Carroll McCormick,
D.D., then Bishop of Scranton, assigned Reverend William J. Wheeler, the
pastor of St. Francis Xavier in Friendsville, the care of the parish at
Little Meadows. Since that time, St. Thomas Parish, while maintaining its
character as a separate parish community, has been served by the priest
in residence at Friendsville.
The Centennial Celebration of
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish began on November 19, 1989, with a pontifical
concelebrated Liturgy of Thanksgiving at 3:00 pm in the church. The celebrant
at the Mass was the Most Reverend James C. Timlin, D.D., Bishop of Scranton.
He was joined by former pastors of St. Thomas the Apostle including Rev.
Joseph A. Saltry, Rev. Thomas J. McDermott, Rev. Joseph M. Horanzy, and
Rev. William R. Culnane. The homilest was Father Edward Huntsman, pastor
of St. Thomas.
Following the Mass, a reception
for the entire parish community and friends was held in the parish hall.
the day-long festivities concluded with a dinner dance at the Treadway
Inn in Owego, New York, at 6:30 pm.
At the dinner dance, the Invocation
was given by Rev. William Culnane. A toast was offered by Rev. Joseph Horanzy.
Benediction was offered by Rev. Thomas McDermott.
The menu included chilled fruit
cup, Seafood Newburg/Chicken Cordon Bleu/Prime Rib of Beef, tossed salad,
Japanese style vegetables, baked potato, and chocolate layered cake or
pecan pie for dessert.
In June 2010, St. Thomas the Apostle
Church closed. The Final Mass and Closing Ritual took place at 4:00 pm
on Saturday, June 19, 2010. A catered dinner was held in the church hall
The parish merged with the parishes
of St. Francis Xavier in Friendsville, PA., and St. Joseph Church in St.
Joseph, PA., to form St. Brigid Parish.