At the turn of the Twentieth Century, when Italian immigrants came to the shores of the United States, many of them were welcomed by the city of Reading, PA and its surrounding areas and their numbers increased rapidly. Ultimately, it became necessary to care of their spiritual needs and to organize these immigrants into a parish all their own.
A good friend of the Italian community, Monsignor George Borneman, V.F., Pastor of the Parish of Saint Paul in Reading, appealed to Archbishop Patrick Ryan of Philadelphia to send an Italian priest to Reading. Monsignor Bornemann himself managed to acquire the former St. Mark’s Reformed Congregational Church at Schuylkill Ave. & Green Streets in Reading for $6,000. The Reformed Church had purchased the lot in November 1892, meaning that the brick church had likely been erected in the mid-1890’s. He then proceeded to convert it to Catholic worship in order for a priest to be assigned to the new parish.
On October 2, 1904, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church was solemnly dedicated by the Most Reverend Archbishop Diomede Falconio, Apostolic Delegate to the Unit4ed States. The boundaries of the new Holy Rosary encompassed all the Italian speaking Catholics in the Reading Area. Bishop Ryan appointed Reverend Gusaldo Paonessa, the first Pastor of the fledging parish.
On August 3, 1910 Rev. Dr. Eugene Marchetti became Pastor of Holy Rosary. Fr. Marchetti observed the steady growth of the Italian-American population due to increasing influx of immigrants and informed Archbishop Predergast of the need to establish a parochial school in Reading. Monsignor Borneman once again demonstrated his generosity when he purchased the old Franklin Street Public School Building at a public auction. The same year the school opened under the directions of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy established themselves on the second floor. In October of 1921 the premises at 236 & 238 were purchased and converted into a convent.
In April of 1938 Rev. Leonard T. Miconi as appointed pastor. The school was located to the second floor of 240 Franklin Street and the first floor became Holy Rosary Chapel.
After the great depression a meeting was help on April 14, 1940 to build a new church. In 1942 the Salesian Sisters came to Holy Rosary. In May & June of 1943 the buildings and land was purchased so erect the new Church and Rectory. The new Holy Rosary Rectory was built and blessed in August of 1950. On September 1, 1950 contracts were signed and arrangements were made to proceed with the building of the church. On June 28, 1953 the new Holy Rosary Church was dedicated.
On May 14, 1968, Rev. Father. Felix A. Losito was named administrator of Holy Rosary. In the fall of 1969 the Holy Rosary Chapel on Green Street was renovated. After the death of Msgr. Miconi, Father Losito was named pastor.
A significant change in the Main Church took place in 1975. The Sanctuary was renovated in order to conform to the liturgical norms of Vatican Council II.
In the summer of 2010 Msgr. Joseph DeSantis became the administrator of Holy Rosary. Msgr. Losito never recovered from his fall and subsequent issues passed away on November 3, 2011. Msgr. Joseph DeSantis then became pastor of Holy Rosary Church.