About Holy Trinity Parish Cluster

About Our Holy Trinity Parish Cluster


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About the Holy Trinity Parish Cluster

About the Holy Trinity Cluster of Southwest Virginia

About Us

In the Beginning:

The Holy Trinity Parish Cluster is a group of parishes located in the Heart of the Appalachian Mountains in Southwestern Virginia. We are a part of Region 10 of the Richmond Diocese. Before becoming clustered the churches Holy Spirit, Jonesville; Sacred Heart, Big Stone Gap, St. Anthony's, Norton; and St. Joseph's, Clintwood were individual churches. The main mission church of St. Anthony's was built first and by the Diocese instructions with the help of the Glenmary Missionary Society, St. Anthony's reached out and helped to develop the churches that are now located in  Big Stone Gap, Clintwood, and Jonesville. We are all represented by the Knights of Columbus Glenmary Council 7853. This web site serves the Holy Trinity Parish Cluster.

The Growing Years:

Due to the impact of sprawling communities, fewer priests, and changes in economics and ministry needs, the four churches are now clustered and the Holy Trinity Parish Cluster includes Holy Spirit, in Jonesville, VA., Sacred Heart, in Big Stone Gap, VA, St. Anthony's, Norton, and St. Joseph, in Clintwood, VA. 

The name HOLY TRINITY was decided on as the name of our cluster of parishes. The name implies our desire for unity with one another and with God. Trinity also shows a desire to treat each parish as an equal. Each parish has gifts to offer the others.  We hold our cluster meetings at Sacred Heart, in Big Stone Gap, VA. Each of our churches continues to work together as a cluster to form a Catholic Christian community in this part of the Diocese of Richmond.

Priest's Bio:


personel bio pic

Fr. Arnel Ayo:

Fr. Arnel Ayo became the priest for the for the Holy Trinity Parish Cluster, August 2015. Fr. Arnel seves Holy Spirit, Jonesville; Sacred Heart, Big Stone Gap, St. Anthony's, Norton; and St. Joseph's, Clintwood.

Rev. Jose Arnel Dooc Ayo, to Parochial Vicar, St. Joseph, Hampton, from the Diocese of Sorsogon, Philippines, effective August 15, 2014. 

Father Jose Arnel Dooc Ayo was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Sorsogon on February 10, 2005, by the Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD.  

Former Priest's Bio:

personel bio pic

Former Priest 2001 to 2015 - Fr. Timothy Drake: (Retired to St. Bernards, Gate City July 2015)

Fr. Tim Drake was born in Norfolk, Virginia while his parents were stationed there with the Marine Corps during World War II. He grew up in Brooklyn, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. With the encouragement of the Sisters at his grade school he attended the Cleveland Diocesan high school and college seminary. He studied theology at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania as a seminarian for the Diocese of Richmond. He was ordained in 1971. His three brothers and their families live in the greater Cleveland area.

During 40+ years of priesthood, Fr. Tim has been blessed to serve in parishes in the Diocese of Richmond from Tidewater to the far southwest, and to the Philippines. He is open to whatever surprises the Holy Spirit has in store in ministry that has expanded to area prisons, Hispanic ministry, and campus ministry.

He is most grateful for the warm hearts of the people of far Southwest Virginia.


Four priests celebrating 40th anniversary May 15

The Catholic Virginian - May 16, 2011 | Volume 86, Number 15

Father Timothy Drake

Father Timothy Drake was first assigned as parochial vicar of Christ the King Parish in Norfolk where he served from June 1, 1971 to May 22, 1974. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he came to the Diocese of Richmond because of his friendship with the late Msgr. John J. McMahon.

“He was a fellow Clevelander who encouraged me to come to the Richmond diocese,” Father Drake said.

His second assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Peter Church in Richmond for a little less than a year before being assigned to St. Matthew Parish in Virginia Beach where he served in two separate assignments. He was there from April 1975 to May 1976, and then later as pastor of St. Matthew for 12 years from May 1989 to June 2001.

Other parishes to which he was assigned include Prince of Peace, Chesapeake where he was pastor from December 1975 to June 1981; Holy Family, Virginia Beach (June 1981 to September 1982); and St. John Neumann, Powhatan, from September 1982 to June 1983.

Father Drake then served with the Maryknoll Missioners in the Philippines for five years working in a rural parish. He returned to Virginia and served at Holy Trinity, Norfolk; Francis de Sales, Mathews and Visitation, Middlesex, for the first five months of 1989 before becoming pastor of St. Matthew.

After serving as pastor of the Virginia Beach parish for 12 years, he then moved clear across the diocese to Appalachia in the mountains of southwest Virginia where he now lives. It was a difficult time for him, he admitted.

“It was pretty hard at first because I had pretty much always lived in a city except when I was in the Philippines,” Father Drake said.

He sometimes travels as much as 45 minutes from one church to the other through mountainous terrain.

“The rural surroundings became less important as I got to know the goodness of the people,” he added. “This has been the biggest surprise of my ministry and I’ve enjoyed so much being out here.”


personel bio pic Holy Spirit, Jonesville, VA:
personel bio pic Sacred Heart, Big Stone Gap, VA:
personel bio pic St. Anthony's, Norton, VA:
personel bio pic St. Joseph's, Clintwood, VA: