The History of the Catholic Churches of Jim Thorpe
Immaculate Conception Parish
The history of Immaculate Conception Parish is really the history of two distinct Catholic ethnic groups that settled in the Mauch Chunk, PA area in the mid 1700s.
The Irish immigrants that arrived in Mauch Chunk were mostly refugees due to the Irish famine. The German settlers of the same era, settled mostly in East Mauch Chunk. At that early part of American history, the entire state of Pennsylvania was the Diocese of Philadelphia. Priests were sent by horseback to the rural areas to say Mass for the Catholic population; and Mass was not available to the community on a weekly basis, nor said in churches but usually at a private residence or outside.
Through the hard work and sacrifice of the local Catholic population, actual churches were built. Immaculate Conception Church, which was predominantly Irish, was established and built on West Broadway and became a parish is 1848. This parish was served by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for many years beginning in 1884.
St. Joseph Church in East Mauch Chunk, known as the German church was established in 1871. This parish was served by the German Sisters of Christian Charity beginning in 1874.
These two parishes, along with many dedicated priests, religious, and laity, saw thriving congregations for over two hundred years.
In 1954 East Mauch Chunk and Mauch Chunk merged together and became the town of Jim Thorpe.
And now, as of 2020, these two Catholic churches have merged. St. Joseph Church became part of Immaculate Conception Parish under the Pastoral Care of Father Ronald Minner.