272 Bainbridge Street  Dayton, Ohio 45402    

937-228-1223 or 937-228-8518

Fax 937-445-0232

While Holy Trinity Church was being built, a new fad, “baseball,” was just starting to sweep the nation. People were talking about the new author Charles Dickens and his critiques of poverty. And our country, while still in the grip of the violence of slavery, was celebrating the election of its new president, Abraham Lincoln. If only the walls of the church could talk! What stories could they share of the times, people, events, And changes that have taken place over all these years.

In the Beginning . . .

It all started in the late 1850s when the growing German population of Emmanuel Church was causing a severe overcrowding there. St. Mary Church was planned to meet this need, but the German immigrants in the neighborhood of Fifth and Bainbridge found this proposal unsatisfactory. Their attempts to interest the authorities of the Cincinnati Archdiocese were at first rebuffed. Indeed, the then pastor of Emmanuel Church proclaimed that “all those who leave the mother church are going out of heaven.”

But the founders of Holy Trinity church only became more resolved. As early as April of 1859 they purchased three lots for their new building. After some disagreement in Cincinnati the Chancellor, deciding things in the Archbishop’s absence, was very disapproving, the returning Archbishop did agree to sign off on the project.

No records exist of the groundbreaking ceremony, but the cornerstone for our church was laid on May 17, 1860. The Civil War slowed progress on the building efforts, however, so the church was not dedicated until August 15, 1861. The red brick edifice, built primarily by workers who were paid in groceries, stood 130 feet by 60 feet. All that was not finished was our beautiful steeple, which wasn’t completed until 1868.

Our Pastors

Our first pastor, the Rev. Francis J. Goetz, was appointed in 1860, but did not take his position formally until 1861. He was the first of thirteen pastors who have served this community since that date over 150 years ago. It was during Fr. Goetz’s pastorate that Holy  Trinity School was opened. The Brothers of Mary taught the boys and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur taught the girls. The SNDdN community stayed with the school until the date of its closing in 1971. Fr. Goetz was pastor at Holy Trinity for a total of 38 years!

The Rev. Charles Hahne, the second pastor, arranged a face-lift for the church and rectory during his appointment. The red brick of both buildings was covered with cement stucco. Generous parishioners gave donations that included the Lourdes grotto, the Christmas crib, and the statue of Jesus in the grave. Fr. Hahne did not live to see the projects completed, dying in 1910, but they were finished by his successor, the Rev. J.Henry Schengber. Fr. Schengber also had to supervise the building of a new school after the great flood of 1913. And the cross on top of the steeple was electrically illuminated, a feature that lasted until it was struck by lightening in 1993.

In 1921,the Rev. Herman Leising took over as pastor and led Holy Trinity through the difficult times of the Depression. In 1935, in anticipation of the Diamond Jubilee of the parish, he supervised the enlargement of the sanctuary and the installation of new stained glass windows. After Fr. Leising’s death in 1947, the Rev. Ralph Moorman was assigned as Trinity’s fifth pastor. Fr. Moorman had a new marble altar installed, the organ overhauled, and the steeple reinforced. Also, the lovely Trinity bells in the steeple were made electric, saving the custodians their long climb to ring the bells during the day.

In 1961, the parish celebrated both 100 years of service from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the centenary of the church dedication. By the sixties, the area around Trinity had changed significantly, no longer the residential neighborhood it had once been.

From 1967 to 1982, four pastors served the community in these changing times: Fr. George Trimbach, Fr. James Eisenhauer, Fr. Louis Funk, and Fr. Robert Monnin. In 1972, during Fr. Funk’s pastorate, the school was again being used by Archdiocesan offices and renamed Trinity Center. In 1982, the Rev. Michael Mahoney became the tenth pastor of Holy Trinity. He oversaw many renovations to the grounds, both interior and exterior (establishing Trinity Gardens, the green area around the Center, for example) and the parish family once again started to grow. In 1985, Trinity parishioners celebrated joyfully the 125th anniversary of the parish. During this time, Trinity was host parish to Korean, Vietnamese, and Hispanic communities, although they are now in self-sustained congregations

The Rev. Sandy Macpherson followed Fr.Mahoney in leadership in 1994. Fr. Macpherson, like those who came before him,was busy with the work of meeting the spiritual as well as the material needs of the community. During his tenure, the repainting of the sanctuary walls (after a steam pipe burst), the replacement of the red carpet with a new blue-gray one, the revealing of the marble steps, and relocating a lovely “hidden” ambry to a place of honor all brightened up the church! New pews, new floors, and renovation of the front windows were big projects, but with the generosity of parishioners, they were accomplished.

In 2002,Holy Trinity entered yet another new era with our present pastor. Upon the arrival of the Rev. Rick Friebel, C.PP.S.,Trinity became a part of the community of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Our joint drives for evangelization and stewardship come from Fr. Friebel’s deep commitment to the mission of his community to honor the sacrifice of Jesus with our own efforts to bring about the kingdom of God.

In 2011 Holy Trinity was blessed with the assignment of two priests to serve the parishes of Holy Trinity, St. Joseph and Emmanuel, now known as Region 7 of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Dayton Deanery. Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S., Pastor and Fr. Ken Pleiman, C.PP.S., Parochial Vicar (associate), bring a sense of deep spirituality, humor, care and concern for all parishioners.




And so we go on. In a time when clergy shortages are leading us to increasing lay leadership, Trinity has always been dependent on lay involvement. From the persistent first founders through the service of many religious communities; even through flood, depression, wars, and urban change, the laity of Holy Trinity Church have served others humbly and loved others as themselves. A downtown church, yes, but a church that reaches in membership from Troy to Waynesville, from New Lebanon to Xenia. Christian Formation Ministry is in place to educate and form parishioners of all ages. Parishioners regularly volunteer at soup kitchens, pro-life activities, Health Ministries, Bereavement Ministry, Social Action projects, and numerous other community wide events. Our annual Christmas Bazaar uses all profits to help the poor. Ministers visit and bring communion to shut-ins and the hospitalized.

Many of our community live out their baptismal call as Eucharistic ministers, choir members, ushers, and servers who bring our liturgy to life. Countless numbers of people give of their skills as gardeners, cooks, electricians, and computer experts, as well as in construction and maintenance, keeping our grounds
beautiful and our projects thriving.

The Future

We can look back and see what was happening in 1861, but we don’t know what will come. It is with faith in God, in each other, and in ourselves that the members of the Holy Trinity family move forward to meet whatever lies ahead. Our history shows us that we’ve always risen to the challenge! May God bless us all with sure steps as we journey forward, clergy and laity, to bring our mission of “Worship, Fellowship, and Service” to all! We are adding our stories to the many held gracefully, deeply, and silently in the walls of Holy Trinity Church.