Church: 411 Wopsononock Avenue, Altoona, PA 16601
Parish Office: 2301 Fifth Street, Altoona, PA 16601-3863
Call: 1-814-942-4479Fax: 1-814-942-1873
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus

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On January 10, 1927, ...

Most Rev. Bishop John J. McCort established a parish in the Fairview section of Altoona, with territory from the bordering parishes of St. Mark, Holy Rosary, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The new parish was dedicated under the patronage of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as "the Little Flower." St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was a Carmelite nun from Lisieux, who was permitted to enter the convent at age 15 and died of tuberculosis at the age of 23. She is acclaimed in liturgical rosters as Virgin, Religious and, because of her "Little Way," Doctor of the Church (one of only three women so designated.)

In 1927, ...

Most Rev. John J. McCort, bishop of the Diocese of Altoona (now Altoona-Johnstown,) named Reverend Thomas W. Kelley as the first pastor. Beginning with a modest 104 families, Fr. Kelley celebrated the first Mass in the new parish on January 16, 1927 in a vacant storeroom at 1903 Fourth Street. When the weather improved Mass was moved into a tent from May through November of 1927. Meanwhile the construction of a stone edifice proceeded until funds were exhausted. With the basement completed, the style was modified to resemble a Spanish Mission style church. An altar was added and the first Mass in the stone structure was celebrated on Christmas Day 1927.

The completion of the church ...

would be many long years in the future with plans for a larger structure built upon the foundation which the parish now occupied. In 1960, Fr. Kelley built and opened St. Thérèse School across the street on Wopsononock Avenue. Need for a social hall for the parish and a gym and cafeteria for the school, led to the building of a Hall, ca. 1967, later dedicated to Fr. Thomas W. Kelley.

In 1960, ...

with the parish increasing in size to nearly 600 families, and Fr. Kelley approaching his 70th year of age, St. Thérèse parish received its first in a long line of assistant pastors. Still the completion of the church did not go forward. In 1968, Reverend, later Monsignor, Roy F. Kline was appointed pastor. Msgr. Kline split his time with the Bishop Guilfoyle High School (formerly Altoona Catholic High School) and his duties as Master of Ceremonies for the Bishop.

In 1972, ...

with necessary funds accumulated, Fr. Kline proceeded with the completion of the church. Plans for the larger structure to be built upon the existing foundation were abandoned for a cathedral-style roof of laminated wood arches complete with lighted steeple and other necessary alterations to the interior. Close inspection of the church interior reveal some of these alterations and the sudden change of plans for the structure. Mass of dedication was celebrated on October 1, 1972, the feast of our parish patron.

In 1995, ...

Msgr. Anthony B. Little was appointed the third pastor of St. Thérèse Parish. During his tenure, in 1997, our parish patron was named one of three women to become Doctor of the Church. Her relic (an eight hundred pound casket) made a tour of places in the United States, dedicated to her patronage. The people accompanying the relic from France found it hard to accept that their beloved Little Flower was being referred to as "St. Theresa" (the name of the other Carmelite Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila.) At this time the familiar "St. Theresa," was correctly altered to "St. Thérèse." Also in 1970, St. Thérèse School closed and St. Thérèse Parish joined as a charter member of the Altoona Central Catholic School. Our school building has served as the initial Middle School of A.C.C.S. then was closed for a couple of years. In 1998, our Pastoral and Finance Councils agreed to twin with the parish of St. Theresa, in Black River, in the Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica. Through regular donations and some fund-raisers, our parish sends over $4,500 to our sister parish annually. Pastors Francis Dupres and Joseph Brug of St. Theresa, Black River, have visited our parish. Due to both dwindling numbers of parish families and the number of available priests, the last assistant pastor, now called parochial vicar, left in 1998. Preparing for the Diamond Jubilee of our parish, a Narthex or Gathering Space was added to the front of the church. This area is brighlty lit with natural lighting coming through etched windows depicting the life of St. Thérèse. The area enables enhanced liturgical celebrations and space to carry out pre and post Mass activities.

In 2002, ...

The fourth pastor, Fr. D. Timothy Grimme, was assigned. With rain coming through the thirty year old pre-fabricated steeple (which had not been lit for over ten years,) the decision was made to remove the steeple. The Cross of the steeple was then placed on a smaller steeple-structure on the Narthex roof. In 2004, the Altoona Central Catholic School re-opened our school building as its Elemtary site. The property between Fr. Kelley Hall and the School has been acquired and turned into a playground for A.C.C.S. Two houses on Twenty-Fifth Avenue, beside Fr. Kelley Hall, also belong to the parish. One was removed for auxillary parking. Looking to the future, the development of Altoona Central Catholic School now has land to expand and possibly make one site for the consolidated school. In 2010, Deacon Thomas McFee completed his studies and was ordained a permanent deacon and assigned to St. Thérèse Parish along with duties in correctional facilities of our diocese. With the March 17, 2023 passing of Fr. Grimme, Deacon Rev. Thomas McFee has since been named Administrator for the parish.

Pastors: 1927 – Present

  • Reverend Thomas W. Kelley, 1927 – 1968
  • Msgr. Roy F. Kline, 1968 – 1995
  • Msgr. Anthony B. Little, 1995 – 2002
  • Reverend D. Timothy Grimme, 2002 – 2023

Parochial Vicars: 1960 – 1998

  • Rev. John J. Manshall
  • Rev. John R. Sasway
  • Rev. J. Joseph Strittmatter
  • Rev. Raymond Karr
  • Rev. Donald Boslett
  • Deacon Thomas Carroll
  • Rev. David Roesch
  • Rev. Thomas Carroll
  • Rev. John G. Durbin
  • Rev. Mark Begly
  • Rev. Albert Ledoux
  • Rev. Allen Zeth


  • Rev. Gabriel Loncosky, T.O.R.
  • Brother Marion, T.O.R. (Thomas Carroll*)
  • Rev. Jack Myers
  • Rev. Allen P. Zeth*
  • Sr. M. Honora IHM (Mariaan Nagle)
  • Sr. M. Gilbert IHM (Dorothy Beach)
  • Sr. Mary Denise SC (Dolores Dietrich*)
  • Sr. Hilda Marie SC (Hilda Shaunessy)
  • Sr. M. Antoine SCA (Patricia Weidmann)
* Baptized at St. Thérèse Parish

What is a Ministry?

Ministry, simply put, is serving God's will. There are Ordained Ministers and Lay Ministers; both sharing and expressing God's love for us by reaching out to those in need, be it by celebrating together at Mass, serving the needs of our Parish, or going a step further outside of our Parish to touch the lives of others.

God has blessed each and every one of us with special talents. It is up to us to identify and develop these talents and then to use them in God's stead. When we use these talents for the benefit of others, with God as our focus, we become ministers and what we do becomes our mission in life; hence, a ministry is born, forming a glorious trinity.

Each is served in unique ways; God, by spreading His good Word to others and using the blessings He bestowed upon us; the minister, by utilizing our God given talents to reach out and touch the lives others, making their life, hence ours, a little bit brighter; and the ministry, those whom receive the benefit of our presence in their life, in body or in spirit, in dollar or in deed, are renewed in their faith with God and with the world.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus has many Ministries, including, but not limited to:
  • Altar Servers
  • Cantors
  • Catholic Daughters of the Americas
  • Choir
  • Church Cleaners
  • Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
  • Gift Bearers
  • Lectors
  • Prayer Chain
  • Religious Education
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society
  • Shawl Ministry
  • Ushers
  • Welcome Committee
If you would like more information about our parish ministries, please contact the parish office.

As of June 16, 2022

  • Finance Council
  • Parish Council



Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?"
"Here I am," I said; "send me!"
Isaiah 6:8
A Gold Dove ~ The Holy Spirit bids you a great day!

Thank you for visiting!
In peace and unity with Christ and one another ...
we hope you have a wonderful day!

Go Live Date: Thursday, July 21, 2022