The Parish of Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace

& St. Veronica

History of The Parish of Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace & St. Veronica


            In April, 1852, Rev. William O'Hara, who later became the first Bishop of the Scranton Diocese, founded and organized St. Philomena's Parish and became its first pastor. At the time, Wayne County belonged to the Diocese of Philadelphia.   A wooden church was built on the back corner of the present property which had a seating capacity of 400. The church was dedicated by Bishop John N. Neumann, who has since been canonized as a saint.


            During the next few years, several mission churches were established in the adjacent towns of Lackawaxen, Ledgedale, Shohola, White Mills, Matamoras, Milford, Dingman's Ferry, Promised Land, as well as Milanville and Glen Spey, NY.


            On July 22, 1900, the cornerstone for the present building was laid and blessed by Most Reverend Michael Hoban, Bishop of Scranton, a native of Hawley. It was dedicated on June 20, 1901 by Bishop Hoban. In 1911, the present Rectory was completed.


            St. Philomena's/ Queen of Peace Cemetery was established in 1849 and is one of the oldest in the Diocese of Scranton. The Grotto Section was added in 1939 and since then more area has been made available for use by the parishioners. In 2001, the Gate of Heaven Section was added giving the cemetery more than two more acres of new useable space.


            In May of 1947, Father Holleran purchased the Murray property across Chestnut Avenue from the church and had it remodeled into a convent for the Sisters who served the Church and her missions. It also had space for a Kindergarten classroom. Many of Hawley's present residents went to classes there.


            The mission church, St. Veronica's, was established in Paupack in 1960. As of May 30, 1962, St. Philomena's church became known as Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace church.


            In 1982, the parish entered into a major renovation project to modernize the buildings and the grounds. Both churches, B.V.M. Queen of Peace and St. Veronica's, were repaired and repainted, with the result being the beautiful houses of worship we use today. The entrance to B.V.M. Queen of Peace church was enclosed and an elevator installed in 1989. In 1997, the garages behind the rectory were demolished and a Parish Center was built. This building is used for meetings and religious education classes. That same year a three car garage was built to accommodate the parish vehicles behind the Religious Education Center. In 1999 and 2000, both churches were painted and new carpet installed. In 2006, the original roof at B.V.M. Queen of Peace was replaced. The ceiling at St. veronica’s Church was replaced with tongue and groove pine and excellent insulation that same year.


            Over the past 159 years, there have been seventeen pastors assigned to Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace church. The present pastor, Rev. Richard W. Beck, has celebrated his sixth anniversary with the parish family.


            At the present time there are1281 families registered in the Parish accounting for 3305 members.