about us: History

Father Francis A. Costello was instructed by Bishop Hafey in March of 1940 to start the parish of Good Shepherd. The parish was to provide pastoral care of Catholics in Butler, Sugarloaf, Dennison Township and Conyngham Borough. On Sunday, March 31, 1940 Fr. Costello celebrated the first Mass in the building that used to be the Green Gables Club. Bishop Hafey formally blessed Good Shepherd Church on Sunday, May 12, 1940.

Approximately fifty Catholic families were registered parishioners in the early months. In January of 1943 Fr. Joseph Luksic was appointed the second pastor and served the people of the Butler Valley for 25 years. During this period of time the parish grew in size and spiritual development. Many community groups were developed and physical improvements to the building and grounds highlighted these times.

In 1961, St. John Bosco Parish was organized for Catholics in the Conyngham Borough and Sugarloaf Township. Some of the former Good Shepherd members became pioneers in establishing this new parish. In September of 1968, Fr. John Purcell was appointed as the third pastor of Good Shepherd. During his 13 years of service many of the new liturgical and catechetical directives of the Second Vatican Council were implemented at Good Shepherd.

Fr. Joseph Weber became the fourth pastor of Good Shepherd on June 30, 1981. Having been a teacher for much of his priesthood, he saw the need for strong parish education programs. As the parish continued to be formed in service to God and one another, a renovation program was developed and the facilities improved for better worship, education and social events.

In July of 1991, Fr. Michael Piccola was appointed the fifth pastor of Good Shepherd. During the eight years of his pastorate the parish was a stable community of faith. Formation and Worship continued to be the keystones of parish life.

Fr. Gerard Safko was appointed the sixth pastor in 1999. In his six years the parish started to investigate the need for expansion considering the growth of Butler Valley. A campaign was undertaken which provided for a state of the art kitchen an updating of the parish hall. The grounds were also beautified by the construction of a prayer garden.

In September of 2005, Good Shepherd and St. John Bosco began to share one pastor. Both parishes with Fr. Joseph J. Evanko as pastor are presently discerning the pastoral needs of the Conyngham/Butler Valley and its potential growth. The parish of Good Shepherd currently has 800 families. It is with great joy and hope we look forward to celebrating who we will become as parish families serving God and one another.