Holy Trinity Church

Churches | Church of the Most Holy Trinity
1460 Ridge Rd. | (585) 265-1616 | www.holytrinityweb.com

Father Peter Van Emstede, C.S.S.R. celebrated the first Mass and the first baptism at Holy Trinity Church in 1859 at the home of Mrs. Ignatius Eichhorn. During the next year, Joseph Vosburgh donated land for the building of a church at 1460 Ridge Rd, Webster, NY. In 1861, the new church was dedicated with Redemption priests from Rochester celebrating Mass. In 1867, Father A. Hechinger was appointed pastor. The church grew quickly, with additions of land, a school, a convent and a rectory. Another growth spurt in the 1960’s caused the pastor, Father Raymond G. Heisel, to start a building campaign in 1967. The old rectory was dismantled and two wings were added to the original church, one for the new rectory. The additions to the church and the new rectory were dedicated in 1969.

Father William Hart was the pastor of Holy Trinity from 1969 until 1992. During this time, many changes occurred to meet the needs of the parish. In 1983, a Reconciliation Room was added to the old west sacristy for the penitent who wanted a face-to-face meeting with the priest for the sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Penance.

In June of 1983. the church basement renovation project began with most of the work being completed by the parish members. Two storage rooms were converted into a library and parish meeting rooms. An existing meeting room was converted to a kindergarten classroom. On April 1, 1984, the Marian Room, in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Aquinas Library Room, in honor of Thomas Aquinas, were officially dedicated in a blessing ceremony officiated by Father Hart, pastor.

In June of 1986, the Feasibility Study Committee recommended many uses for the vacant convent. At the June 22, 1986 meeting the committee approved the suggestion that the building be called the Queen of Peace, its purpose to be a parish library. Father Hart donated his personal collection, which included books from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen to start the library. The Legion of Mary organized and set up the parish library. The building also had meeting rooms where the Legion of Mary and later the RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults] met.

1986 was the 125th anniversary of Holy Trinity. The church began a year long celebration on May 25th with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Matthew Clark followed by a reception. Several events over the year were planned to observe the special anniversary.

On October 7, 1987 Holy Trinity dedicated a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima. The shrine is located in the east parking lot. The shrine is 13 feet high and visible from Ridge Road, Rte. 404, and the Rte. 104 expressway. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima stands 5 ft tall with mosaic panels surrounding it. The base is made of fieldstones that were contributed by parish families. Benches around the statue offer a quiet place for relaxation and meditation.

June 14, 1992 was a day of celebration honoring Father Hart’s 23 years at Holy Trinity and his 47th anniversary in the priesthood. In 1991, the Marian Room and the library moved to the church basement leaving the original convent building empty. The Parish Council suggested that the building could be used as a retirement home for priests. After a few renovations, the Hermitage opened in 1992. In June of 1992, Father Hart was the first priest to move in. Father Hart resided at the Hermitage until his death in 1999.

Rev. Thomas Nellis replaced Rev Hart as pastor in 1992 and continued until 2003. During his tenure, Rev. Nellis was responsible for many new programs and ministries. In 1992, the Holy Trinity Pro-Life Committee [later called the Consistent Life Ethics Committee] wanted to build a memorial in the cemetery to unborn children as well as provide a place for priest burial plots. In 1995, the Holy Trinity Cemetery Board approved a design by Deacon Leo Kester combining the two ideas. A dedication ceremony took place on June 1, 1997. A black India granite monument surrounded by benches, walkways, flowers and one baby stone engraved “In memory of the millions of babies killed by abortion” was placed in the cemetery. On the monument there is an inscription: “I will never forget you. Behold I have inscribed you on the palm of my hand.” [Isaiah 49:15-16] along with a picture of a mother and a child. Bill Sadlon completed the foundation for the monument as his Eagle Scout project. There are eight priest grave sites as well as few small graves for babies who died under two years of age. Father William Hart and Father James O’Connell are buried here.

By 1992, the old sound system installed In 1964 was no longer adequate and a new sound system by Brighton Sound was installed. This system included new speakers for the main church and two wings, smaller monitors for the sanctuary and choir loft , seven new microphones, a wireless system for the priest and a personal PA system for the hearing impaired.

In 1993 Father Nellis welcomed a Pastoral Associate to the parish staff to assist with pastoral care and to develop and coordinate programs of ministry and outreach. Judith Kiehl, a graduate of theological studies from St Bernard’s Institute, joined the staff during the summer.

In June of 1995 the church decided to restore the dome in the sanctuary back to its original state. The dome mural was reported to have been commissioned after the Golden Jubilee of the parish by Father Joseph Miller. The mural had become dark with age and exposure. In 1966 it was decided to paint over part of the mural leaving some parts untouched. In subsequent years water leaks also damaged the mural. West lake Conservators of Skaneateles, NY was hired to complete the work. It was completed in two stages with the final stage being completed in February of 1996, bringing the mural back to its original artistic beauty.

Bishop Matthew Clark dedicated a new baptismal font at Holy Trinity Church on May 10, 1998. After two years of study the committee chaired by Chris Cass, recommended the font design. The new font is located near the Sanctuary in the West Wing of the church. The font has two sections, with the water flowing from the upper to the lower pool. A donation from the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald [Hilda] Barrett made the project possible. Many parishioners also donated their time and skill to complete this project including David Fowler, Ronald Cirri, John Steiner, Jim Hassler, Greg Read, and David and Andrea Cords. Kathleen Williams was the architect.

Trinity House of HOPE [Holy Trinity’s Outreach Program for Everyone], a parish Social Justice Ministry, opened its doors, in October 2, 1999 in the newly renovated parish convent. Its primary mission is to respond to the needs of Webster area residents in crisis. In 1999, Joan Weir ran the house with the assistance of 24 ministers. In 2001 Ted Bertot joined the parish staff as HOPE coordinator. Today Margery Morgan is the director. Volunteers are trained to help all who come to Hope House with compassion, care, faith and hospitality. Hope House provides assistance with shelter, food, medicines, gasoline, clothing, rent payments, money for counseling, education and other needs.

Father Nellis celebrated the 140th anniversary of the parish and the 100th anniversary of the church building in 2001. A High Mass was celebrated with many honored guests. A picnic and pig roast as well as volunteer recognitions were all part of the festivities.

A new project took shape in 2001. After many years of research, The Trinity LIfe Center proposal was approved by the diocese. A capital campaign for the project conducted by Cunneen Parish Fundraising was begun in August of 2001. Phase 1 of the project connected the west side of the church with the east side of the school opening up room for a gathering space as well as additional meeting spaces, bathrooms and an elevator. Phase 1 was completed in 2002. Groundbreaking for Phase 2 of the project consisting of a multi purpose facility/gym, began April 29, 2007. A dedication of Murphy Hall, the gym, and a renovated kitchen and stage was celebrated on May 17, 2008.

In 2003 Father Nellis left Holy Trinity Church and Father William Michatek took over as pastor. Father Michatek was familiar with Webster having been assigned to Holy Trinity Church some 30 years before. Father Michatek remained at Holy Trinity until 2011 when Father Timothy Horan joined Holy Trinity as pastor.

In 2011 Holy Trinity Church celebrated 150 years of church history. On display were collections of mementoes from Gary Smith’s parents (Anna and Arthur Smith), Deacon Kester, and Helen Waytowich. An anniversary Mass was celebrated on June 9 with Bishop Matthew Clark.

Today Holy Trinity offers many faith, ministry and outreach opportunities for its parishioners such as Women of Faith, Men’s Spirituality and Enrichment, youth groups, book club, Corpus Christi, Dove Ministry, St Camillus, Maplewood Nursing, Home Service, Bereavement, Martha Committee, HOPE House, STAR, Cursillo, Knights of Columbus and Auxiliary, and Legion of Mary to name a few.

Pastor List

Rev. Francis N Van Emstede 1861
Rev. Albert Schaeffler1861
Rev. L. Holzer1862-1863
Rev. Charles Stiessberger 1864-1865
Rev. John D. Zwickert1866
Rev. Julius Kuenzer1866-1867
Rev. Anthony Hechinger1867-1869
Rev. Henry Kuper1869-1871
Rev. Peter Schmal1871-1877
Rev. Aloysius Weissteiner 1877-1879
Rev. Joseph Netzel1879-1887
Rev. Constantine Ulrich1887-1893
Rev. Joseph Magin1893-1898
Rev. Joseph A Miller1898-1921
Rev. F William Stauder1921-1923
Rev. Francis Hoefen1923-1936
Rev. Jacob R Rauber1936-1937
Rev. George M Kalb1937-1961
Rev. Raymond G Heissel1967-1969
Msgr. William M. Hart 1969-1992
Rev. Thomas Nellis 1992-2003
Rev. William Michatek 2003-2011
Rev. Tim Horan2011-
Rev. Francis N Van Emstede
Msgr. William M. Hart
Fr. Nellis
Fr. Michatek
Fr. Horan


  • Dunn, Esther, ​Webster Through the Years​, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, Webster Town Board, p 83-87.
  • Webster Church Box, Holy Trinity File, Webster Historian Office, Webster Museum, 2017.
  • “Pilgrimage Churches: Holy Trinity, Webster”, Catholic Courier, Rochester, NY, November 27, 1974, p 9.
  • “Holy Trinity holds ceremony to dedicate additional rooms” Webster Herald, Webster, NY, April 11, 1984, pg 13B.
  • Kiley, Richard, “Holy Trinity celebrates 125 years of growth, change” Catholic Courier, Rochester, NY, July 17, 1986 p 8.
  • Gertner, James, “A Heart to Hart, Trinity pastor leaves legacy”, Webster, Herald, Webster, NY, June 24, 1992, p3.
  • “Bishop Clark dedicates new baptismal font”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, July 1, 1998, p 10.
  • Schwar, Kathleen, “House of Hope doors open in Webster”, Catholic Courier, Rochester, NY, October 28, 1999, p 4.
  • “Holy Trinity parish celebrates 140 years”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, June 6, 2001, p 8.
  • “Holy Trinity plans pastor Nellis’ farewell events”, Webster Herald, Webster NY, April 16, 2003, p 11.
  • “Holy Trinity bids farewell to pastor” Webster Herald, Webster, NY June 18, 2003, p 1,2.
  • Bovenzi, Ann, “Holy Trinity Church, Religious Research Project” Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, 2005.
  • Ruggier, Bev, ​Through the Years​, PhotoGraphic Designs and Beyond, 2001, p21-49.
  • “Holy Trinity parishioner chronicles 150 yr history of church”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, April 20, 2011, p 20.
  • “Holy Trinity parish to bid farewell to its pastor”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, June 8, 2011, p 15.
  • Holy Trinity, Webster, NY, 2018, ​http://www.holytrinityweb.com/
  • Diocese of Rochester, 2018, ​http://www.dor.org/