PACAMBRI-L ArchivesArchiver > PACAMBRI > 1999-01 > 0917807235
From: "David Monahan" <>
Subject: [PACAMBRI-L] FYI Abt Prince Gallitzin
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 13:27:15 -0500
Sorry for the repeat if you're also on PA Catholic!
FYI from the Johnstown Tribune Democrat Dec 28, 1998. Written by my old
grade school football coach and a descendant of the early Conrad family in
Cambria County. Here are some excerpts from the article:
Here & There
Gallitzin Celebration planned
Many people have made a tremendous impact on the history of Cambria County,
but none exerted more influence on the development of. Catholicism in West
Central Pennsylvania than a former Russian prince who renounced his wealth
to carry a spiritual message to the people.
Over the next year, the Rev. Demetrius Gallitzin will be honored for his
contribution to the
spiritual lives of people who inhabited the county 200 years ago.
Northern Cambria County have gone the extra mile to make sure Gallitzin's
memories carry on past the first 200 years.
Two residents of Loretto have spent a considerable amount of time
researching the life of Gallitzin and his influence on the area.
"It is amazing how many people outside the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese are
very fascinated by (Gallitzin)" Betty Seymour of Loretto said. "They regard
him as very unique, even more so than those of us in Loretto who have
A retired St Francis College professor published a book this year about the
prince-priest. "I found in my research that he was a strict, old-fashioned
man of God", Raymond Bradley of Loretto said. "First and foremost, he was a
priest, a back-woods preacher with a very, very deep faith and a strong
desire to spread that faith.
Bradley's book is entitled, "Father Gallitzin: Prince and Priest". Although
he was born into Russian nobility, Father Galliltzin renounced that and
entered the Roman Catholic Church at the age of 16.
He journeyed from Europe to Baltimore and was ordained a Roman Catholic
priest In 1795. That year; he made a sick call to what was then known as
McGuire's Settlement, now Loretto. The young priest fell in love with the
area and returned there in 1799. He built a church, which was ready for
celebration on Christmas Eve 1799. The priest influenced generations of
Catholics who trace their religious roots to the evangelization that was
done by the prince-priest.
"It is really an exciting time," Seymour, who with her husband; Frank, are
working on an anniversary book, said about the 1999 events. "So many
religions have come out of this area. When you (compare this area) to others
in Pennsylvania, it is amazing how many people (have followed his lead) with
vocations (to the religions life)."
Bradley's family traces its roots to the early settlers of Loretto. But
while he understands that the priest was very strict, Father Gallitzin also
cared very much for the people of the early years of the United States.
When Gallitzin, then known as Augustine Smith to retain his anonymity was
sent to the hinter-lands by Bishop Carroll, he be1ieved that his family
would continue to send him money to help him with his missionary efforts.
That occurred to a certain extent, but not as he had imagined.
"He had serious financial problems,: Bradley said. "His mother was
instrumental in sending him such things as Mass vestments, baptismal
clothing, and a beautiful clock that is dated 1760, but he was officially
cut off from his father's inheritance by becoming Roman Catholic.
"Although he expected to get money it was not forthcoming. He complained
about that later in his writings. Carroll sent him out there with the
expectation that he would be financially independent That did not
The former prince also encountered difficulty because of his strict
However, Gallitzin has not been considered for elevation to saint-hood, and
many followers hope that will change with the interest created by the
"I have been in touch with a judge from Delaware who believes that he should
be put up for canonization because of all the vocations that have resulted
from his work," Seymour said. "As more people begin to hear the story
(hopefully) they will start praying for the miracle. It is possible that
there have been miracles already."
While the Chapel House in Loretto has been open for many years, the hope is
that pilgrimages will bring thousands of people to Loretto, some for return
trips, others for their first into the life of the first priest in the area.
"He was a backwoods preacher, a man with a golden tongue, and also a person
with a very eloquent pen," Bradley said. "He never took a vacation. He
baptized 3,000 babies, performed 400 marriages, and countless funerals."
The yearlong celebration will culminate with the bicentennial of his first
Mass on Christmas Eve 1999 at the parish that he founded, St. Michaels.
Other activities will be celebrated both in Loretto and in Altoona, the home
of the current diocese. The events will begin on March 1 with a celebration
of Gallitzin's appointment as pastor of St Michael's, and will continue with
a Prince Gallitzin Awards Dinner in June, a diocesan pilgrimage to Loretto
in July and a diocesan religious pilgrimage to Baltimore in August.
So for those who are making preparations for the.200.year celebration, 1999
promises to be exciting.- For most people in Cambria County and its
environs, a trip to Loretto may increase your knowledge of history that has
been very important in the development of the Roman Catholic religion in the