The congregation of St. Lawrence grew out of the German-American population of south-central Pennsylvania in the mid-19th Century. Having initially purchased a church on Front Street in Harrisburg, which was dedicated in honor of St. Lawrence in 1860, the congregation outgrew the structure, and a new church was built at Walnut and 5th streets.
When the Pennsylvania capitol burned down in 1897, the construction of the new building with expanded grounds led to the purchase of St. Lawrence Church by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Using the proceeds of the sale, the current church was built on State Street (see archives), and was consecrated on April 20, 1918, by the Most Reverend Philip R. McDevitt, fourth bishop of Harrisburg. Eventually, in 1984, a history of the parish, including the previous buildings used, was published.
Eventually, as the congregation shrank, a group of the Faithful dedicated to the traditional form of the Roman Rite began organizing monthly Latin Masses at Trinity High School. With St. Lawrence Church now being used less and less, the group obtained permission to use St. Lawrence in 2005.
With the issuance of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, 2007, more people came to the traditional Mass at St. Lawrence, and in December 2007, the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, ninth bishop of Harrisburg, established a canonically erected stable home for the Latin Mass at St. Lawrence. Likewise the Most Reverend Ronald Gainer, the eleventh bishop of Harrisburg, has generously cared for the people of St. Lawrence.