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Holy Ghost Catholic Church


In the mid-1800s, to accommodate a growing number of German-speaking immigrant workers to Bethlehem, the Holy Ghost Catholic Church (originally named St. Bernard’s) was built on the South Side of the city.

Dedicated on March 18, 1888, the original building housed the church on the second floor; the ground floor was home to the first Catholic school in Bethlehem.

As the parish quickly outgrew the original church, a magnificent new building was erected on the original site and was completed in 1910, with a cruciform structure and magnificent Romanesque interiors. Stained glass windows and murals, added in 1918 and 1919, served as visual reflections of the Austro-German heritage of Holy Ghost’s parishioners.

The parish has flourished and prospered over the decades, with fewer services held in the German language reflecting demographic changes in the church and parochial school populations.

In 2008, the Catholic Center of Lehigh University and the Newman Association were folded into Holy Ghost as part of the Diocesan consolidation of parishes. Because of its history, beauty and contributions to the South Side community, Holy Ghost parish continues to be a source of spiritual reflection, partnership and shared pride between “town” and “gown” parishioners.