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Apostolic Delegation United States of America

3339 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20008

March 21, 1978

Reverend Donald J. Cooper
Pastor: St. Nicholas of Tolentino Mission
Crates, Pennsylvania

Dear Father Copper:

It is my privilege to inform you that the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, conveys his Apostolic Blessing on the occasion of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the founding of St. Nicholas of Tolentino Parish in Crates, Pennsylvania, now a Mission of St. Charles Parish. This favor is extended to all who comprise the St. Nicholas community as well as those who will join in the Jubilee celebration on September 9th and 10th.

Historic St. Nicholas Mission has known 50 priests - the first among them being the beloved Father Prince Galitzen. Established as a parish in 1828, the first church, a log cabin, was dedicated by Bishop Kenrick of Philadelphia in 1835. The third church, dedicated in 1893, is in use today. Since its establishment the strong Faith of the people of St. Nicholas Mission has nurtured 69 vocations for the service of God as priests, sisters, and religious brothers. God has indeed been generous with His gifts in the past.

As the future is embraced, the Holy Father encourages the parishioners of St. Nicholas to develop a deeper awareness of the wider unity of Faith, worship, and love which they have with the whole Church. Such a consciousness is a consolation. It also makes demands. In particular, it calls our attention to our responsibility to respond to the needs of the missions and of poor people everywhere.

To the Blessing of the Holy Father, permit me to extend a personal word of congratulations and best wishes. It is my prayer that the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, His Mother, will continue to enrich the lives of all.

With cordial regards, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Jean Jadot
Apostolic Delegate


As this anniversary volume of St. Nicholas Parish goes to press, we learned of the death of our beloved Vicar of Christ's Church, Pope Paul VI, 6 August 1978.

Office of the Bishop

Diocese of Erie
205 West Ninth Street
Erie, Pennsylvania 16501

March 20, 1978

The Rev. Donald J. Cooper
Pastor, St. Charles Parish
201 Washington Street
New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 16242

Dear Father Cooper:

I am very happy to join you and your parishioners in celebrating the 150th Anniversary of St. Nicholas of Tolentino Church in Crates.

Yours is not only one of the oldest Catholic communities, it also played a great role in developing the Catholic Church in your area of the Diocese. Your history mentions some of the great and devoted individuals who have been at Crates -- the distinguished Archbishop Kenrick who came from Philadelphia to dedicate the first Church in 1835, our own Bishop Tobias Mullen, who dedicated the present Church in 1893, Prince Galitzen who came to Crates from Mt. Loretto to provide the people with Mass and the Sacraments whenever possible. Nor can we forget Father Thomas Ledwith who first brought the Sisters of St. Joseph to the Erie Diocese. Thanks to his foresight, since then thousands of these Sisters have served us all in schools, hospitals, and Homes for the Elderly.

I am told that some seventy vocations to the Sisterhood, Brotherhood, and Priesthood have come from St. Nicholas, among them Father Stephan Aaron, who would later turn the steps of the youthful John Mark Gannon to the sacred Priesthood.

Yours is a glorious tradition. May the faith and devotion of those who have gone before you burn brightly in your hearts and in the hearts of your children.

With warm regards and God's special blessings to all of you.

Sincerely in Our Lord,

Alfred M. Watson
Bishop of Erie

St. Charles Rectory

201 Washington Street
New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 16242
Phone 814/275-344

St.Nicholas, Crates, Pa.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

One hundred and fifty years ago our spiritual forefathers in Crates, then Redbank, shared a dream. Motivated by a deep love of their Catholic faith, they united their efforts and sacrifices and St. Nicholas of Tolentino Parish came into being.

Down through succeeding generations the people of St. Nicholas, with the same intense faith and sense of dedication and commitment, caused the Catholic faith to flourish throughout the community. Proof of this is found in the fact that St. Nicholas played a great role in developing the Catholic Church in this area and in the Diocese of Erie. St. Nicholas is the fourth oldest parish in the Diocese of Erie. Literally thousand upon thousands of saints who now enjoy the beatific vision came to know, love and serve God here at St. Nicholas.

Ours is a tremendously rich heritage. Let us not take it lightly. Instead, let us rededicate ourselves to the vision and values of our spiritual forefathers. With the same sense of dedication and sacrifice let us insure our own salvation and, at the same time, pass on to those who come after us the blessings we have received.

On this our Sesquicentennial Jubilee, it is my fervent prayer that all of those who have made up St. Nicholas Parish to date as well as all of those who will follow us, will one day be reunited in the sharing of their heavenly reward.

My congratulations to each of you on this happy occasion.

Devotedly yours in Christ,

Fr. Donald J. Cooper

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