History of Our Parish

Composed of the former SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, St. Benedict has humble beginnings in the city of Lebanon.
It all began back in the 1800s.

SS Cyril & Methodius

From 1808 to 1904 there was an influx into Lebanon County of immigrants from Slovakia and Austria-Hungary. These immigrants came mostly as laborers. Their work was hard and they received low wages, but the were loyal Catholics. The Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop John W. Shanahan, believed that there needed to be a Slovak church in Lebanon, however there was no priest of that nationality available. In October of 1905, Bishop Shanahan appointed Rev. Andrew J Kennedy to care for the Slovak people. He spent 6 months as an assistant at St. Michael’s Slovak Church in Lansford to learn the language. He returned and celebrated the first Slovak mass on November 12, 1905 in the basement of St. Mary’s.

Ground was broken at 13th and Lehman Street on May 29th, 1906 and the cornerstone was laid September 30th 1906. The first mass was said in the new church before construction had ceased in June of 1907. On June 13, 1907, Rev. Kennedy moved into the newly built rectory and Bishop Shanahan blessed the church on July 7, 1907. During that time the church had a membership of 923 souls, being 1 of only 3 Slovak parishes in the diocese. The parish reflected a spirit of sacrificial giving on part of the members that was felt throughout Lebanon, and eventually led to the construction of the SS. Cyril and Methodius school on March 28, 1954.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
(Our Lady of Guadalupe)

The Hispanic Apostolate of Lebanon began in 1952 at St. Mary’s Church in Lebanon. A succession of diocesan priests and several who were brought up from Woodstock, MD, served the people. In the ‘&0’s a small chapel was procured on 12th St. and then moved to 11th & Brandywine Streets. Finally, the church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was consecrated in 1988 at 329 N. 8th St.

St. Benedict the Abbot Church

In 1993, Bishop Nicholas Dattilo began the Process of Renewal and Reorganization of the Diocese of Harrisburg he did this process through merging parishes including SS. Cyril & Methodius and Our Lady of Guadalupe, thus creating the only bilingual Catholic church in Lebanon County. Saint Benedict the Abbot parish was established on July 2,1995, with Rev. Francis J. Tamburro as the first Pastor.

“We start anew! Together we, the Slovaks and the Hispanics, begin our journey toward our heavenly goal. May God bless our footsteps along the way, as we struggle to carry our new banner with resignation and love. May the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit furl our banner high as we ‘walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide’”.