St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, Bedford

History: St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church dates to 1817 when a mission church was established on East St. in Bedford. Subscriptions were collected as early as Feb. 2, 1816. It was used as a church as late as 1833, then converted to a private dwelling. The church building still stands and has been reconverted to its former use as a church, which is still occasionally used for mass.

The parish outgrew the small brick building and by 1835 a second brick church was erected across the street from the first church. The second church was demolished after the third church was built.

In 1868 the present building was erected on the northeast corner of Penn and Richard streets, Bedford borough. A cemetery was established south of the first church, but it was filled before 1900, so a new cemetery was established on County Home Rd.

The first permanent pastor at St. Thomas was the Very Reverend Thomas E. Heyden who served from 1821 through 1870. He died in the rectory Aug. 25, 1870. He was followed by Father Andrew J. M. Brown, who served 1870-1881; Father Daniel O’Connell, 1881-90; Father John Foley, 1891-94; Father Dennis Cashman, 1894-1908; Monsignor William E. Downes, 1908-17; Father C. L. McKinney, 1917-31; and Father Francis A. Magee, 1932-1953.

(Source: extractions from the Sesquicentennial booklet.)

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