GREENFIELD – For Rita Larange, Holy Trinity Church is more than a place to worship God.
“It means a lot to me, it has always been here. It has been a home from home, ”said Larange.
Larange is one of many parishioners who will gather at Holy Trinity Church on Sunday to celebrate its 150th anniversary as part of Greenfield and Franklin County. The church continues to benefit the community more than a century and a half after its founding.
The celebration will begin with Mass at 10:30 am, with officiating Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Diocese of Springfield. A reception will be organized after mass with refreshments.
Larange has been a part of the church for almost two-thirds of its existence and, at 95, is one of the church’s oldest parishioners. She was baptized at Holy Trinity 95 years ago, received her First Communion there, got married on the altar inside the church, and buried her husband and friends there.
“I had a lot of grief,” Larange said, but the church helped her get through it.
Reverend Timothy Campoli said the church has a shrinking congregation but continues to try to draw people to the Catholic faith. People like Larange are great inspirations to others, according to Campoli.
“There are a lot of people like Rita who are loyal members,” Campoli said, which helps “lead people to the Kingdom of Heaven.”
And these are the people who bring Bea Bowman back, almost six decades after the church became her parish in 1960.
“Just to see so many people of faith out there every Sunday, every event you attend… it’s very heartwarming,” Bowman said.
The church provides opportunities for others to be active, as well as for parishioners like Theresa Leete, who was baptized there 83 years ago.
Leete said she regularly volunteered at the church, doing a number of activities including cleaning the altars, serving as a host and being part of the Rosary Society, an all-female volunteer group in the church. . The group is the sister organization of the Holy Name Society male volunteer group.
Along with the Rosary Society, Leete participates in church bake sales and the biannual clearance sale to raise money for church and charity.
The company also designed a cookbook to honor the 150th anniversary and help raise funds for the church. Rosary Society president Marcy Hoynoski said the cookbook features 200 recipes from church members new and old, from apple pie to homemade pickles to spaghetti sauce. Books cost $ 15 and can be purchased at church or by calling 413-772-6983.
And while the efforts of Leete and others help the church, its impacts can also be seen outside the pews and the altar.
Campoli said the church provides many outside services, especially to those in need or underserved.
The efforts include providing community meals for the poor, visiting the sick and the elderly to give them communion, and holding a weekly mass and discussions with inmates at Franklin County Jail on Elm Street.
The church also hosts events each year for the community, including label sales and a summer picnic, as well as its sister house of worship, Blessed Sacrament Church.
Holy Trinity even participates in a program that delivers food to seniors on weekends called the Bread for Life Program, filling a need that Meals on Wheels can’t.
The church was founded in 1868 and was the first Catholic church in Franklin County, according to Campoli. The church began two years after Catholics from Northampton began a mission in Greenfield.
Holy Trinity Church laid the foundation for several other churches in the county, Campoli said, including St. Mary’s Church in Turners Falls in 1872, St. James Church in South Deerfield in 1895, and Blessed Sacrament Church. in Greenfield in 1960.
You can reach Dan Desrochers at: email@example.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257.