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Coal Miners Memorial Hecla No. 2 Mine & Coke Works (Trauger Mine & Coke Works), Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Hitory of the Hecla No. 2 Mine & Coke Works, Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church, Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Mines of Westmoreland Co., PA INDEX
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Forty Martyrs Roman Catholic Church,
Trauger,
Mt. Pleasant Township,
Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania


A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams at Hecla No. 2 Mine, (Trauger Mine), Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania


Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Editor,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Editor,

Updated Oct. 15, 2009

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HISTORY:
Forty Martyrs Catholic Church, Trauger, PA
During World War I ca.1917-1918, a change began to develop. The old country orgins and traditions of the local churches were being supplanted by a newer generation. The old country languages being used in the services at the various ethnic churches were no longer as necessary since English was now the common language of most of the parishioners. There had to be a double approach to this situation - Slovak for those who immigrated to America and English for those who had been born in the United States. Sometime previous the Forty Martyrs Catholic Church was established by those of Hungarian extraction to overcome this situation. The original parishioners of the new Forty Martyrs Catholic Church, Trauger, PA came from several different churchs, some attended St. Florian Catholic Church, United, PA, some attended St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Calumet, PA and some attended St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church, Trauger, PA

Additional notes about St. Florian Parish, United, PA & The Forty Martyrs Church, Trauger, PA.
by John S. Kovacs, Santa Fe, New Mexico
An additional note on the history of St. Florian Parish, United, PA:  The disruption caused by the non-Hungarian speaking priest, the Rev. Josef Ademek, in 1918 led my Hungarian speaking grandparents and 39 of their Hungarian friends to form a new parish on the United-Trauger road, and they build the new Forty Martyrs Catholic Church.  The Forty Martyrs parish is still a vibrant parish.  The parish today is multi-ethnic, with most of its Hungarian roots buried in the church cemetary.  Although the immigrants at the mines managed to leave most of their European animosities for each other in the "Old Country," it is interesting that their nationalism flared when it came to their shared religion.

Forty Martyrs Church, Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland Co., PA
(Photographs by Raymond A. Washlaski.)

Bishop closes two more of the ethic Catholic Churches in the coal patch towns in the Diocese of Greensburg, PA, that the coal miners and their families built.  Just another slap in the face to the coal miners that gave and gave to build these parishes.

St. Stanislaus Parish, Calumet, PA and Forty Martyrs Parish, Trauger, PA

By Melissa Williams Schofield
Special to The Catholic Accent, Nov. 27, 2008, Greensburg, PA

Father William C. McGuirk wasn’t certain what approach he would take to announce to parishioners the decisions to close Forty Martyrs Parish in Trauger and St. Stanislaus Parish in Calumet, both of which he served as administrator.

He said a book given to all the priests who had to make those announcements in October, "A Struggle for Holy Ground: Reconciliation and the Rites of Parish Closure," was most helpful.

"Instead of preaching, I walked through the Stations of the Cross and invited parishioners to venerate a relic," Father McGuirk said about his approach with the parishioners at Forty Martyrs.

"I took a healing approach, though it focused on the wounds they felt. The main altar was stripped at the last Mass. Everyone was invited to venerate the altar, kiss it and bow to it. Many people came forward in a beautiful procession," he added.

He said it was similar to a funeral where loved ones say their last goodbyes.

"I believe you need ritual action at a time like this. I did focus on the bricks and mortar so they could let go of them," said Father McGuirk, who can relate to the sadness. His home parish, St. Mary, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Parker, also closed in October.

After the final Sunday Mass at Forty Martyrs Parish, a farewell luncheon was held to signify an ending and new beginning.

The 90-year-old parish, like many in the diocese, is rooted in the growth of the coal and coke industry in southwestern Pennsylvania. By the early 1900s, many Hungarian Catholics were living in the Trauger area, but they were unable to understand homilies or make confessions in their language in neighboring parishes.

Forty Martyrs Parish was established as a mission in 1916, and the church building was dedicated in 1918.

One parishioner there, who preferred anonymity, said she and her husband of Hungarian background spent most of their time at Forty Martyrs. She was a lector and an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and helped clean the church.

She hopes to get more involved at St. Florian Parish in United.

"We knew the change was coming to our parish," she said. "I know the Holy Spirit will help."

Eleanor Czarniak, who used to attend St. Stanislaus Parish, has also made the move to the neighboring parish in United.

What she remembers most about St. Stanislaus Parish in Calumet, a tiny country church on a rolling hill overlooking the former coal mining community of Mammoth, are Christmas Eve Masses celebrated in Polish.

Now she goes to daily Mass at her new parish where she’s happy to have a "good priest and a good parish" in Father McGuirk and St. Florian.

"We hated to lose our parish, but St. Florian’s is another beautiful parish," Czarniak said. "We take with us fond memories, but you have to go on. I have a lot of good, Polish memories."

She and her husband, Chet, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next May. He is now a lector at St. Florian Parish. They were married in St. Stanislaus Parish, their son was a server there, Eleanor was baptized there and her parents were parishioners.

"It was a beautiful church. We were all family," said Czarniak.

The parish was founded by immigrants coming to the Mammoth area to work in the coal mines and rich farmlands, she said. On Aug. 9, 1895, one acre of land was purchased and a small church was erected and named in honor of St. Stanislaus.

Czarniak also talked about how people would travel for miles for a variety of homemade peroghis, from prune to potato.

She said one of the parish’s former pastors, Msgr. William G. Charnoki, jokingly commented that the peroghi were so delicious, he was convinced they were filled with gold.

Father William C. McGuirk said he has invited everyone to stay on board and bring their skills into the "new St. Florian."

That includes the popular peroghis.

"Every attempt is being made to be inclusive, not exclusive. All three parishes have good cooks. We don’t want that to stop," Father McGuirk said.

He invited parishioners to venerate the altar after the final Mass. A farewell dinner was held to reflect on the past and look ahead.

Father McGuirk has retained the organists from each parish. Eucharistic ministers and lectors from St. Stanislaus Parish and Forty Martyrs Parish will also remain.

Though the process has been a difficult one, Father McGuirk says the logo on the stationery at St. Florian Parish sums it up best.

"The new St. Florian. Good ideas going forward."

(Courtesy of "The Catholic Accent," Greensburg, PA.)

"History of the Hecla No. 2 Mine & Coke Works,
Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
"Coal Miners Memorial, Hecla No. 2 Mine & Coke Works,
Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
"St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church,
Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
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