Holy Trinity Church celebrates 150 years in Franklin County

  • Rita Larange, 95, who has been attending the Holy Trinity Church most of her life, poses for a portrait in the church’s sanctuary. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Father Timothy Campoli of The Holy Trinity Church talks to Rita Larange, 95, who has been attending the church most of her life. They are looking over copies of her baptismal from 1922. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz.

  • The Holy Trinity Church on Main Street in Greenfield is celebrating 150 years. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Father Timothy Campoli of The Holy Trinity Church talks to Rita Larange, 95, who has been attending the church most of her life. The church is celebrating 150 years. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Rita Larange, 95, looks over copies of her baptismal from The Holy Trinity Church in 1922. She has been attending the church most of her life. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/25/2018 8:22:00 PM

GREENFIELD — For Rita Larange, Holy Trinity Church is more than a place to worship God.

“It means a lot to me, it’s always been here. It’s been a second home,” Larange said.

Larange is one of many parishioners who will gather at Holy Trinity Church 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 it was established.

The celebration will begin with Mass at 10:30 a.m., with Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Springfield diocese officiating. A reception will be held after Mass with refreshments.

Larange has been a part of the church for nearly two-thirds of its existence, and at 95 years old, is one of the church’s oldest parishioners. She was baptized at Holy Trinity 95 years ago, received her First Communion there, was married on the altar inside the church and has buried her husband and friends from there.

“I’ve had a lot of sorrow,” Larange said, but that the church has helped her through it.

The Rev. Timothy Campoli said the church has a dwindling congregation but continues to try to draw people to the Catholic faith. People like Larange are great inspirations for others, according to Campoli.

“There’s many people like Rita that are faithful members,” Campoli said, which helps “lead people to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And it is these people who keep Bea Bowman coming back, nearly six decades after the church became her parish in 1960.

“Just to see so many people of faith there every Sunday, every event you go to ... it’s just very comforting,” Bowman said.

The church provides opportunities for others to be active, as well, parishioners like Theresa Leete, who was baptized there 83 years ago.

Leete said she volunteers at the church regularly, doing a number of activities including cleaning the altars, acting as a greeter and being a part of the Rosary Society, an all-female volunteer group in the church. The group is the sister organization of the all-male volunteer group Holy Name Society.

With the Rosary Society, Leete participates in the church’s bake sales and biannual rummage sale to raise money for the church and charities.

The society also crafted a cookbook to honor the 150th anniversary and to help raise money for the church. Rosary Society President Marcy Hoynoski said the cookbook contains 200 recipes from church members, new and old, from apple pie to homemade pickles to spaghetti sauce. The books cost $15 and can be purchased from the church or by calling 413-772-6983.

Community relations

And while the efforts from Leete and others help the church, its impacts can be seen outside of the pews and altar, as well.

Campoli said the church provides many outside services, especially to those who are in need or under-served.

Efforts include providing community meals to the poor, visiting the sick and elderly to give them Communion, and holding Mass and discussions every week with inmates at the Franklin County Jail on Elm Street.

The church holds events every year for the community, too, including tag sales and a summer picnic, along with its sister house of worship, Blessed Sacrament Church.

Holy Trinity even participates in a program that delivers food to elderly on the weekends called the Bread for Life Program, fulfilling a need that Meals on Wheels cannot.

History of the church

The church was established in 1868, and was the first Catholic church in Franklin County, according to Campoli. The church began two years after Catholics in Northampton began a mission to Greenfield.

Holy Trinity Church provided the groundwork for several other county churches said Campoli, 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: ddesrochers@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257.


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