About This Place
Bally is a borough in Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,062 at the 2000 census, but a 2005 census estimate put the population at 1,102 residents.
The Borough of Bally was originally called Goshenhoppen, an Indian word meaning "meeting place". Mennonites and Catholics settled it in the early 18th century. Clergyman Ulrich Beidler erected the first house of worship, the Mennonite Church in 1731. Father Theodore Schneider, a Jesuit priest, came to the area in 1741 and established what would be just the third Catholic mission church in the 13 original colonies. On land received from the Mennonite community, Father Schneider built St. Paul's Chapel in 1743. St. Paul's is now known as the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, and it is the oldest existing Catholic place of worship in Pennsylvania and the fourth oldest Catholic structure in the thirteen original colonies.
Later in 1743 Father Schneider started a Catholic school at the mission church. The school, originally called St. Aloysius Academy, also marked the beginning of Catholic education in the 13 original colonies. After several name changes, it is currently known as St. Francis Academy, and is the oldest currently operating Catholic school in the nation.