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Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church

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1895–1906, Lehr, Leh and Martz. 417 Carlton Ave.

German Catholics arrived later than the Irish and founded their church at the foot of Fountain Hill in 1871. Although groundbreaking occurred in 1895, the church was not completed until 1906. The large Romanesque Revival church is a gray rusticated granite building with brown sandstone belt courses and window trim. The west (street) facade includes side aisle towers flanking a triple round-arched entrance and a rose window. At one end of the nave the rose depicts the twelve apostles arrayed as in a clock face, while at the apse an unusually placed stained glass window curves over the top of the projection, filtering a muted light down into the sacristy. Stained glass windows and elaborate frescoes were added in 1918. The interior was repainted and regilded in 1937, and then again in 1988, with deep-blue painted ceiling vaults depicting the constellations as they appear above Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) on Christmas Eve. Life-sized painted Stations of the Cross line the nave above both side aisles. A large baldachino with carved wood Gothic detail, topped by a life-sized carved crucifixion, encloses the altar at the crossing of the nave and transept.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church", [Bethlehem, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 284-285.

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