In February 1937 Bishop Hugh C. Boyle, D.D., appointed Rev. Paul J. Simko to the pastorate of Our Lady of Consolation Church. For fifteen years under the zealous missionary spirit of this young priest the catholic life in Nemacolin, Pennsylvania and surrounding missions ever increased.
During all these years the catholic people of Carmichaels attended mass in Our Lady of Consolation Church, Nemacolin, Pa.. As the Carmichaels area developed, the number of catholic families increased. With the opening of the new “Robena Mine” in Greene County, reputed to be the largest soft coal mine in the world, a great influx of people to the area began.
Father Simko, ever alert to the spiritual needs of people, with the approval of the Bishop, opened a mission in Carmichaels. After weeks of hard work the idle Lund Theater was thoroughly cleaned and prepared to serve as the church for this new Carmichaels Mission. On the first Sunday in July 1951 the first mass was offered in the Theater by Rev. Paul Simko. A large gathering of people attended the first mass.
Less than a year after the mission began, because of its rapid expansion, a new parish was established by Bishop Dearden, under the title and patronage of St. Hugh of Lincoln. The parish was named in memory of Bishop Hugh C. Boyle.
On June 26, 1952 Rev. Charles A. Thomas, assistant pastor of St. Colman Church, Turtle Creek, Pa. was assigned to Carmichaels to organize the new parish. Without home or church he took up temporary residence with the neighboring pastor, Rev. John Hruska, at Nemacolin, Pa.
The former Lund Theater, located on the Town Square, served as the parish church for the next two and a half years. In a short time the mission numbered three hundred families. On August 29, 1952 Mrs. Teresa Caravaggio turned over the deed to a large piece of property, donated and accepted as the sight for the New Church. Several weeks later, September 11, 1952, the home of Albert Cosmack was purchased to serve as the new rectory for Father Thomas.
From its humble beginning the parish grew rapidly and soon was recognized as the largest parish in Greene County. On September 23, 1952 Father Thomas, who had been in charge, was appointed the first pastor of St. Hugh Church.
The members of the parish, eager for their own church, set to work gathering funds. In a little more than a year’s time the church treasury had grown to $25,000 and permission was granted by His Excellency, Most Rev. John F. Dearden, S.T.D. to build a new church. Some 500 friends and parishioners attended the impressive groundbreaking ceremony on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon, May 23, 1954. The first shovel of earth was lifted by the pastor, Father Charles A. Thomas. The Rev. Paul J. Simko preached the sermon; Father William Hutnik, a former assistant at Nemacolin acted as Master of Ceremonies.
The New Church, colonial in style, is a 101 feet long and 53.6 feet wide, with a seating capacity of 435. The building of the New Church, once started, progressed rapidly. The Cornerstone Laying Ceremony took place September 26, 1954 with the Very Rev. Joseph A. Kushner, dean of the district, officiating.
To the great joy of the people of St. Hugh Parish they now have in their midst the House of God, a dwelling place for Christ. St. Hugh Church was solemnly blessed and dedicated by His Excellency, Bishop John F. Dearden, S.T.D. on Saturday morning, February 19, 1955.
+ Rev. Charles Thomas . 1952-57
+ Rev. William Frawley .. 1957-61
+ Rev. Thomas Carey ... 1961-63
+ Rev. Ignatius Kollar .... 1963-67
+ Rev. Ralph Stack ....... 1967-92
+ Rev. Francis Nazimek 1992-99
Rev. John Bauer ......... 1999-2018