History 2011-10-03T21:27:07+00:00

St. Mary Church was founded in January 1894 under the leadership of Rev. Stephen Dzubay.  The church was to serve the Byzantine Catholic immigrants who lived and worked in the coal and coke regions around the Trauger area of Western Pennsylvania.  A hall in the nearby community of Calumet served as a place of worship prior to the construction of the church.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted a charter to the Greek Catholic Church in Trauger on April 8, 1896.  On May 4 of that year the group purchased one-half acre of land to build the first church.  The actual construction was begun in May 1897.   In a few months, the new church was completed.  It was a neat wooden building housing the church and a small social hall.  In the hall, the priest and cantor taught the traditions of the faith and the chants to the young parishioners.  During the early 1900’s, St. Mary’s even had a full time school.  Once the church and hall were completed, land at the top of the hill above the church was purchased for a cemetery.

As the number of faithful parishioners increased, it became evident that they needed a larger church.  In October 1912 another half acre of land was purchased.  Construction of a larger, brick church was begun shortly and the cornerstone for the present church was blessed August 16, 1914.

Years of harsh weather took its toll on the numerous high steps which led to the entrance of the church.  As the deterioration continued, the exterior of the church had to be renovated in 1960.   A new retaining wall was constructed and steps were installed on each side.  A tunnel was built as an entrance to the basement of the church.  Renovations were also completed to the interior of the church.

On August 5, 1962 ground was broken on the property across the road from the church for an educational and recreational center.   The Center, which was completed in September 1963, serves as the hub of parish and community activities.  Classrooms in the Center are used for the religious education of the children.

In 1965 numerous fund raising activities were held in the Center — bingos, dinners, hall rentals and catering.  With the funds the parishioners were able to put a new roof on the church, repaint the interior of the church, place a large granite cross in the cemetery and pay the mortgage of the Center in full.

Major renovation to the church was undertaken in 1998-99.  The interior of the church was painted, icons were painted in the apse, in the sanctuary, and on the side walls.  New side altars and an icon screen have been installed in the church.

The youth of St. Mary parish are involved.  In addition to the ECF classes, they participate in liturgical processions on the feasts of Easter, Christmas, Dormition, and during the Sacraments of Initiation.  The resident pastor and several local clergy organized the young people of local parishes for an ecumenical youth rally which provided time for recreation and learning.