Holy Trinity, first ethnic parish in the United States, was formed in 1788 by German-speaking Catholics who wanted a separate place for worship. The movement for a separate congregation began when the Germans purchased their own burial ground in 1768. They would also begin keeping separate registers in 1784. The German Catholic Society was organized in 1787 to acquire land for a church as well as for the maintaining of a school. Construction started on the church in in 1788 and the first Mass was held in 1789. The exterior of the church has remained largely unchanged, while the interior was twice destroyed by fire, the first in 1860 and again in 1890. The parish closed and combined with Old St. Mary’s in 2009.