Pittsburgh Diocese announces mergers, shrines established, priest assignments
Five parish mergers were announced Saturday by Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop David Zubik.
He also said five Downtown Pittsburgh church buildings will be classified as shrines.
Zubik said the five parish mergers are a result of the ongoing On Mission for The Church Alive! initiative.
The bishop made the announcements in a letter to clergy and parishioners.
The changes will take effect July 1. Additional information, including clergy assignments is also available online and is expected to be published in an upcoming Pittsburgh Catholic.
“These five parish groupings have worked extremely hard since last October to foster relationships and, after consultation in the groupings, were prepared to share with me their desire and readiness to form a new parish community,” the bishop wrote.
Each of the five groupings will become a single parish, with a new name.
No church closures are being announced related to these new parishes, the bishop said.
The five new parishes are:
• Christ Our Savior (North Side), which brings together the parishes of St. Cyril of Alexandria (Brighton Heights), Holy Wisdom (North Side), St. Peter (North Side) and Risen Lord (Marshall-Shadeland).
• Holy Spirit (New Castle Area), which brings together the parishes of St. Camillus (Neshannock), Christ the King (Bessemer/Hillsville), St. James the Apostle (Pulaski), St. Joseph the Worker (New Castle), Mary, Mother of Hope (New Castle), St. Vincent de Paul (New Castle) and St. Vitus (New Castle).
• St. Matthias (Greene County), which brings together the parishes of St. Ann (Waynesburg), St. Hugh (Carmichaels), St. Ignatius of Antioch (Bobtown), Our Lady of Consolation (Crucible/Nemacolin/Rice’s Landing) and St. Thomas (Clarksville/Jefferson).
• St. Paul of the Cross (Castle Shannon/Mount Lebanon), which brings together the parishes of St. Anne (Castle Shannon) and St. Winifred (Mount Lebanon).
• St. Teresa of Kolkata (Beechview/Brookline), which brings together the parishes of St. Catherine of Siena (Beechview), Our Lady of Loreto (Brookline), Saint Pamphilus (Beechview), St. Pius X (Brookline) and Resurrection (Brookline).
New parish grouping, shrines
Zubik also announced a new parish grouping. In 2018, the 188 parishes of the diocese were divided into 57 parish groupings, with a goal of merger within five years as they mobilized their resources for ministry and mission. This new grouping brings the total number to 58.
The new Shrines of Pittsburgh Grouping brings together the parishes of Immaculate Heart of Mary (Polish Hill), Most Holy Name of Jesus (Troy Hill), St. Nicholas (Millvale) and St. Patrick-St. Stanislaus Kostka (Strip District).
These parishes comprises five church buildings near Downtown Pittsburgh that have unique historical and spiritual significance for the diocese, as well as a church that is connected with one of the shrines.
The Shrines of Pittsburgh “will both provide for the pastoral care of the faithful in these parishes and promote these shrines as places of pilgrimage and spiritual renewal for people throughout the diocese and even across the country,” Zubick said.
The shrines included in this new grouping are:
• St. Anthony Chapel (Troy Hill), which contains the world’s largest collection of relics after the Vatican and the largest collection of relics available for public veneration.
• Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Polish Hill), a prime example of “Polish Cathedral” architecture, which is modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the first church in the United States to have the Divine Mercy Novena.
• St. Nicholas Church (Millvale), which houses the one-of-a-kind murals of Maxo Vanka. The murals depict the immigration of Croatian peasants to the United States, Vanka’s expression of the futility of war and his sadness at the destruction of Europe during World War II.
• St. Patrick Church (Strip District), which contains one of the few replicas of the Holy Stairs that Jesus ascended to be judged by Pontius Pilate before he was crucified.
• St. Stanislaus Kostka Church (Strip District), one of the earliest Polish communities in the United States, was visited in 1969 by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope Saint John Paul II.
The parish church included in this new grouping is Most Holy Name of Jesus (Troy Hill), which is connected with St. Anthony Chapel.
“On Mission for The Church Alive! cannot take a cookie-cutter approach,” Zubik said. “We are constantly evaluating the most effective ways to respond in light of the unique circumstances of each parish grouping.”
Zubik also announced the realignment of the parish groupings from which the Shrines of Pittsburgh were withdrawn:
• Bloomfield/Garfield/Lawrenceville Grouping, which now comprises the parishes of St. Maria Goretti (Bloomfield/Friendship/Garfield) and Our Lady of the Angels (Lawrenceville).
• City Center/Hill District Grouping, which comprises the parishes of St. Benedict the Moor (Hill District), Epiphany (Uptown) and St. Mary of Mercy (The Point/Gateway Center).
• Etna/Glenshaw/Millvale/Reserve Grouping, which now comprises the parishes of All Saints (Etna), St. Aloysius (Reserve), St. Bonaventure (Glenshaw) and Holy Spirit (Millvale).
These new and realigned parish groupings are not merging as new parishes at this time, he said.
Two unrelated changes
Zubik announced two changes involving church buildings that are unrelated to the other decisions.
• St. John XXIII Quasi-Parish will move to the site of the current Risen Lord Church (Marshall-Shadeland). It will continue to serve those who desire the liturgy in the extraordinary form (i.e., the Traditional Latin Mass). Zubik invited the priests and parishioners of St. John XXIII to work toward the establishment of a parish and to provide three names for that eventual new parish.
• The Corpus Christi Church building of St. Charles Lwanga Parish (East End) is being closed upon the recommendation of the administrator and Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils. St. Charles Lwanga will continue to use Mother of Good Counsel Church for worship and pastoral ministry.
Zubik concluded his letter with a call to move forward in faith.
“This is a pivotal time for our diocese as we plan for the future of the Church of Pittsburgh. While some may be frustrated, at times, with the On Mission process, rarely does someone say it shouldn’t be taking place.
“Southwestern Pennsylvania is radically different than it was 100, 50, 20, even 10 years ago, yet the work of the Church and our call to love God and others is needed as much now as ever before. As we address the challenges we face in the Church today, the witness of working and growing together reflects the unity of the Body of Christ that is essential to our mission.”
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .