|Death: ||May 26, 1818|
Buried under the floor of the Sancturary of the old Chapel floor Aged 52 Years.
Here rest the Rev. Paul Erntzen, died May 26, 1818 at the age of 53. He served this Mission 27 years. May he be at peace. ("MBSC" page 99)
Father Paul Erntzen, the last of the eighteenth century pastors of St. Paul's was, as were all his predecessors, a native of Europe. He was the last non-Jesuit to serve as pastor until the title to the mission was transferred to the Archbishop of Philadelphia in 1888.
He had studied divinity at Liege, sponsored by the American clergy and came to America after his ordination. His first entry in the registers is a baptism of 2nd April 1793. It was at the beginning of his pastorate that the Sacrament of Confirmation was administered for the first time at St. Paul's. On 19th April 1793., Anthony Reichard was confirmed by Bishop John Carroll, 1st Bishop of the United States, of Baltimore. This is the only record of a visitation to Berks County survived is not known. A possible explanation is that the aforenamed recipient of the Sacrament being an adult and apparently a convert, this entry was made to indicate a record of conversion, such conversions being usually noted in the register. A separate record of others in the Confirmation class may have been made at the time and since lost, for in a mission as large as Goshenhoppen, it is hard to conceive of the Confirmation of only one person at the time of the first visit ever by a Bishop. (MBSC page 29)
As the congregation grew, it became necessary to build onto the original chapel. In 1796, Father Erntzen constructed the first addition which extended the chapel thirty-five feet toward the road. After the completion of the expansion project by Father Erntzen, it was decided to purchase an organ, for the use during services. This serves to indicate the progress the mission had made in the fifty years, for many congregation in the much larger towns did not even have a church as yet. (MBSC page 29)
It can be said that with the death of Father Erntzen on 20th May 1818, the period in which St. Paul's served as an important mission center came to an end. The growing towns in the former mission territory now became the center from which priests went out to spread the Gospel. Goshenhoppen, of course, still had mission territory of its own, but it was much smaller, than in the early days, and was for the most part limited to the German speaking rural population of Berks and Lehigh counties and the upper end of Montgomery County. Actually, throughout the entire period of the Jesuit presence at Goshenhoppen, it was considered a mission with no specific limitations. It was only in the twentieth century that the congregation has assumed the status of a parish with established boundaries. (MBSC pages 29-30)
The Chapel of St. Paul was enlarged by Father Erntzen in 1796 and the space used by the faithful was extended thirtyfive feet. This addition may be recognized inside the present Church where the narrow section extends to the side altars. (MBSC book, page 115)
Sources: "Most Blessed Sacrament Church Bally, PA Originally known as St. Paul's Chapel of Goshenhoppen, Berks County, PA." Information Compiled and Researched by Edward H. Quinter Pottstown, PA. In collaboration with Rev. Monsignor Charles L. Allwein Pastor-Emeritus 1976
Most Blessed Sacrament Church Cemetery
Created by: Joseph
Record added: Oct 25, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 30848691