Parish to honor Fr. Chris Allegra May 5

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Father J. Christopher Allegra
Father J. Christopher Allegra

FREDERICKTOWN, Ky. — A portion of the parish center at Holy Trinity Church here will soon have a new name — Allegra Hall.

The hall is being named after the late pastor of the parish, Father Christopher Allegra, who passed away unexpectedly last October.

Father Allegra — more commonly known as “Father Chris” — had been pastor of Holy Trinity Church since 1996. Many parishioners liked Father Allegra’s easy-going personality and genuine kindness, said Deacon Joseph Dant, temporary administrator of Holy Trinity.

The entryway and gymnasium of the parish center will be dedicated to the memory of Father Allegra at a celebration May 5. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. The dedication of the hall and a potluck lunch will follow the Mass.

Deacon Dant said it was fitting that a portion of the parish center will be named after Father Allegra.

“The parish center was Father Chris’ baby, so to speak,” the deacon said. “He spent so much time and effort into bringing that center about.”

Deacon Dant said the dedication was meant to be a celebration of the past and also a time to look forward both to the future and the church’s new administrator, Father Matthew Hardesty. Since Father Allegra’s death, Deacon Dant and retired Father Thomas Clark have been ministering to the people of “The Burg,” Fredericktown’s nickname.

Father Hardesty will become administrator of Holy Trinity and Holy Rosary Church in Manton, Ky., on June 19.

The young priest spent time at both Holy Trinity and Holy Rosary parishes when he was a seminarian.

“I remember going to both parishes and thinking that I would really love to be assigned here one day,” Father Hardesty recalled in a phone interview last week. “It’s a very welcoming, very gracious parish. It’s a beautiful experience to celebrate Mass there.”

Father Hardesty also has ties to a former pastor of Holy Trinity, Father Lawrence Hardesty, who is now deceased.

“We are not directly related but I think that he was a distant relative,” he said.

When Father Matthew Hardesty was approaching ordination, he asked the archdiocesan archivist, Father Dale Cieslik, if there were any available chalices and patens that he could use.

It turns out that Father Lawrence Hardesty left his set to the archdiocese when he died. Father Matthew Hardesty received the chalice and paten and had them replated and reconsecrated.

“I use them every Sunday. His name is inscribed on the bottom and mine is next to it,” he said.

Hattie Thompson Clements, who has been a member of the Fredericktown parish for all of her 96 years, describes the parish as friendly and hard working.

“I was baptized there, married there and hope to be buried from there,” Clements said.

Clements’ family was one of the founders of the parish. They arrived in Kentucky from Maryland in 1801. She still lives on the same farm that her family settled more than two centuries ago.

Louise Nally, a lifelong member of Holy Trinity, has been the church’s organist for more than 60 years.

“Since I play the organ I feel very involved in the activity of the parish,” she said.

Nally added that Holy Trinity was “a nice country church” and has been blessed by good pastors.

“We feel very fortunate to have had Father Chris here. The archbishop and the diocese have taken good care of us. Father (Thomas) Clark and Deacon Joe have done an extra good job (since Father Allegra’s death).”

Nally added that the people of the parish “are very excited about getting a new priest,” she said.

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