Rebuilt pipe organ at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church symbolizes merger of several Homestead parishes
By Sandra Fischione Donovan
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:53 p.m.
St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church organist Tom Coyne looked forward to an organ reconstruction project at the parish that would symbolize the consolidation of several Catholic churches in Homestead.
But the project stalled. Estimated to cost $43,000 — even by paying labor only at cost — the rebuilding was more than the parish could afford, and it could raise only $17,000 of the money. Started in January 2011, the organ renovation soon languished.
That changed last week. A parishioner donated $26,000, the amount remaining to move the project forward.
The Rev. Daniel Sweeney, pastor of the West Eleventh Avenue church, said the donor wishes to remain anonymous and that the money has been received.
Coyne said the donation will allow renovations to resume on Jan. 11 with completion expected by the end of July.
“I'm pretty excited about it,” Coyne said last week. “I am optimistically cautious this is going to happen.”
“We have three organs that do not work individually and haven't worked for years,” Sweeney said. “But by coming together and rebuilding it as one organ, we're going to get a very valuable organ. We're looking to do the same with the churches.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe was founded in 1992 through consolidation of six Roman Catholic parishes in Homestead, a town whose population has declined since the downturn in the steel industry and heavy manufacturing in the 1980s.
In 2009, the Diocese of Pittsburgh shuttered three of the parish's worship sites and designated St. Ann Church on West 11th Avenue Extension to reopen as the merged St. Maximilian Kolbe Church.
“Our thought is the people could not survive separately in their worship sites. But by coming together under one roof, there is strength in numbers. Rather than paying (separate) light and gas bills, we can work on the ministry of the church,” Sweeney said.
The reconstructed organ will bring liturgical music alive in the parish. The church building, constructed in 1950, has never had a pipe organ, said Coyne, who uses a keyboard.
Joseph Tuttle of Lincoln Place, who will work on the project, said the organ will be a “very diversified instrument” and “a community effort.”
The organ will be installed in the choir loft, which will be slightly reconfigured to accommodate it. It will have around 1,000 pipes, with the best equipment selected from among organs at the three closed churches, said Tuttle.
The composite organ will bring “significant parts of the past into the present church,” which already has pews and windows from its member parishes, Coyne added.
“In the end, it will yield an organ of nearly new condition that will last for several generations with very little maintenance,” said Peter Luley, of Luley & Associates of Highland Park, who is doing the restoration with Tuttle.
Sandra Fischione Donovan is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Giant Eagle combines ‘best of both worlds’
- North Side filmmaker returns to alma mater OLSH a success
- High school ensembles to perform at Allegheny County Courthouse
- Brownsville, Broughton realignment, planned for decades, improves flow