Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. in Berlinsville, PA, you will find the little St. Nicholas Church. Much of what we know about this church goes back to 1840.
1837 - Nicholas Glasser, an immigrant carpenter, who came from Bavaria, Germany in 1837 was instrumental in the founding of this congregation. Nicholas settled in Lehigh Township prior to August 1840 and began acquiring land in 1844. Sometime prior to August 1855 he erected a small frame building, twenty-four by twenty-eight feet on his own land for the purpose of Catholic worship. This Church although on privately owned land, was listed in the 1856 directory of the Philadelphia Diocese. An original copy is on deposit at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary at Overbrook, PA (Historical Sketch by C. F. Seng)
1840 - The first church in Berlinsville was built by Father Tanzer of Easton, around the year 1840. It was built of logs, as were so many in those early days, and stood at the juncture of the main road through Berlinsville and a lane leading into the Erschen farm. The original cemetery was to the right of the little church. The reason for naming the church in honor of St. Nicholas was that it was built by a pious catholic named Nicholas Glasser. It is known that the venerable Bishop Neuman visited this church remaining at the farmhouse across the road for the night. The good Bishop often prayed during the entire night. When he left in the morning, his bed was undisturbed. (50th Anniversary of Ordination of Rev. Cyril E. Birmelin, Pastor of Church of the Assumption B.V.M. May 29, 1939)
1855 - St. Nicholas Bishop of Tolentine, August 23, 1855, blessed the Cemetery and confirmed fifteen - these solemn acts of consecration by St. Neuman confirm August 23, 1855 as the Founding day of St. Nicholas Congregation at Berlinsville.
St. Neuman made perhaps his last visit to St. Nicholas when in his Diary he notes - December 7, 1856, blessed the church and confirmed seven. (Historical Sketch by C. F. Seng)
1856 - Nicholas Glasser and his wife Catharine deeded land to Rev. Neuman for $25.00 for the First Church and Burial Ground for the German Roman Catholic Congregation. Recorded March 7, 1856. (Northampton County Courthouse; Book C Vol. 9, Page 443 and files of Charles Fegley)
1872 - The second St. Nicholas Church was built in 1872 and for this purpose $900. was collected, mostly in Reading by Mr. Maurer of Berlinsville (100th Anniversary Assumption B.V.M. booklet.)
1873 - Nicholas Glasser and wife Catharine sold to Rev Bishop James F. Wood for $25., lot with newly constructed church. Entered August 19, 1873. Entrusted forever in St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church in Berlinsville (Northampton County Courthouse, Book B Vol 14 Page 506 and files of Charles Fegley)
1906 - Rev. John Vitt became the first resident pastor of the Church of the Assumption in Slatington and from that time until 1974, St. Nicholas was attended to by the pastors of Slatington.
1967 - On October 8, 1967 the new St. Nicholas Church was dedicated by Bishop Joseph McShea.
1974 - The congregation of St. Nicholas was in the status of Mission church for one hundred and nineteen years until it was given a Pastor and status of Parish in 1974. (Historical Sketch by C. F. Seng) The first resident priest assigned to St. Nicholas Church was Rev. Robert Reed.
1981 - In December of 1981, Father Reed was transferred. Father Edward McElduff became the second pastor of St. Nicholas Church.
2002 - In June of 2002, Father McElduff retired from the priesthood after serving in the priesthood for 49 years. Msgr. Joseph Sobiesiak became the third pastor of St. Nicholas Parish.
2003 - In June of 2003, Msgr. Sobiesiak was transferred. Father Francis P Schoenauer became the fourth pastor of St. Nicholas Parish.
Present - Our foundation is prayer, which empowers us to recognize Christ in each other. Under the guidance of Fr. Schoenauer, we strive to live Christís mission of peace, service, outreach, and fellowship through various programs so that both the human and spiritual needs of our people are met.