In 1842, Father Henry Fitzsimmons dedicated a wooden German Catholic Church which was erected at 206 South Washington Street, Wilkes Barre, Pa. This church was in use until 1887 when the larger present day Saint Nicholas Church was constructed and dedicated by the Reverened Monsignor Peter Conrad Nagel.
The original wooden church was retained by the parish until 1924 when it was demolished to provide space for the South Street Bridge. It was in this structure in November 1890 that twenty-nine men from the parish founded "St. Konrad's Verein" named in honor of St. Conrad of Bavaria in Southeast Germany, and his namesake Monsignor Peter Conrad Nagel. Years later the Society name was angloized to "St. Conrad's Y.M. Society".
The society and it's members participated in many community projects. Included were a Drum and Bugle Corp, Baseball Team and a Glee Club. Summer Picnics were held at Mountain Park with chartered trains providing transportation. In more recent years, society sports minded members have formed Bowling, Softball and Volleyball teams. Also featured are Golfers, Dart and Pool Shooters and often bus trips to sporting events of professional competition.
Many members saw service and action in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War I and II, Korea and Vietnam. Some of them returned disabled in various ways, some never came back. May God Bless Them All!
With the removal of the old wooden church and the construction of the South Street Bridge in 1924, the Society relocated to the opposite side of the street to it's present location which was originally a three-story appartment building. Considerable expense and effort went into converting the Main Floor into a service area and the Second Floor into a Meeting Hall. In 1964, the Bar and the Kitchen were extensively modernized.
In June 1972...
Ladies Auxiliary History
When the society was seventy years old in 1960...
Saint Conrads Society - Yesterday and Today
The evolution of St. Conrad's from Parish adjunct to seperate society is a specific illustration of the "Americanization" process...
Feast Day: April 21
St. Conrad of Parzham
Conrad spent most of his life as porter in Altoetting, Bavaria, letting people into the friary and indirectly encouraging them to let God into their lives.
His parents, Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, lived near Parzham, Bavaria. In those days this region was recovering from the Napoleonic wars. A lover of solitary prayer and a peacemaker as a young man, Conrad joined the Capuchins as a brother. He made his profession in 1852 and was assigned to the friary in Altoetting. That city’s shrine to Mary was very popular; at the nearby Capuchin friary there was a lot of work for the porter, a job Conrad held for 41 years.
At first some of the other friars were jealous that such a young friar held this important job. Conrad’s patience and holy life overcame their doubts. As porter he dealt with many people, obtaining many of the friary supplies and generously providing for the poor who came to the door. He treated them all with the courtesy Francis expected of his followers.
Conrad’s helpfulness was sometimes unnerving. Once Father Vincent, seeking quiet to prepare a sermon, went up the belltower of the church. Conrad tracked him down when someone wanting to go to confession specifically requested Father Vincent.
Conrad also developed a special rapport with the children of the area. He enthusiastically promoted the Seraphic Work of Charity, which aided neglected children.
Conrad spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He regularly asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for him and for the many people he included in his prayers. The ever-patient Conrad was canonized in 1934.
Monsignor Peter Conrad Nagel
Peter Conrad Nagel (* 15. Mai 1825 in Grevenstein; † 12. März 1911 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) wirkte missionarisch als katholischer Priester in Pennsylvania.
Nach Besuch der Volksschule in Grevenstein ging er von 1841 bis 1847 auf das Arnsberger Gymnasium Laurentianum. Während des Theologiestudiums in Münster gehörte er zu den Gründungsmitgliedern der Studentenverbindung K.D.St.V. Sauerlandia Münster im CV. Nach dem Studium arbeitete er drei Jahre als Hauslehrer für eine Gutsbesitzerfamilie im damals preußischen Teil Polens in der Nähe von Marienburg. 1857 wanderte er in die USA aus und trat in das Priesterseminar von Philadelphia ein. Im folgenden Jahr übernahm er als Priester eine Pfarrei in Wilkes-Barre am Susquehanna River, baute Kirchen in der Region und holte weitere Sauerländer als Pfarrer für Scranton, Honnesdale und Williamsport nach. Für seinen Geburtsort Grevenstein finanzierte er eine Wasserleitung, die Conrad-Nagel-Stiftung für Aufgaben der Kirchengemeinde undeine Studienstiftung, die vom Erzbistum Paderborn verwaltet wird.