The story of Our Lady of Victory Parish is one of remarkable growth from a faith community of no more than 50, in 1908, to one of about 5,000 members currently. Over a century ago, the students of the Pennsylvania State College traveled by horse-driven hack to Sunday Mass at St. John's Church in Bellefonte. In 1908, the students petitioned Bishop Eugene Garvey who then directed Father Byron O'Hanlon, a Benedictine priest assigned to St. John's, to visit State College every second Sunday to celebrate Mass. The first Mass offered in State College was on November 15, 1908, in the Armsby Building on the College campus.
In 1913, Father O'Hanlon moved his residence to State College and began efforts to build the first Catholic church in State College. Our Lady of Victory Chapel on the southwest corner of West Fairmont Avenue and Fraser Street was dedicated in 1917. As the number of Catholics at the College and in the surrounding area grew, the Fairmont Avenue church soon became inadequate. On adjoining land, the parish built a basement that was to serve as a foundation for a larger church. For many years, Sunday Masses would be celebrated both in the church and the basement. Soon both of these venues were overflowing with Mass attendees.
For nearly three decades after Fr. O'Hanlon passed away in 1932, Our Lady of Victory was ably served by a succession of pastors and administrators, often under very trying circumstances.
In 1961, Father Patrick Fleming was appointed pastor and met with the parish to discuss overcrowding and the need for a parish school. The parish purchased land on Westerly Parkway and broke ground on October 7, 1962, for the school, convent, and auditorium. The first classes began in September 1963. The church, offices, and rectory were begun on May 14, 1967, and dedicated by Bishop James Hogan on April 13, 1969. Twenty years later, the parish having grown so large, another parish, Good Shepherd Church, was established across town on Gray's Woods Boulevard.
Monsignor Fleming retired in 1993 and was succeeded by Monsignor Philip Saylor. In 1995, Father Martin
We thank Almighty God for the good things we have received as a parish and especially for our brothers