St Mary Assumption, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member sherpes
N 40° 29.036 W 079° 56.688
17T E 589433 N 4482006
Quick Description: Three relief above the three front entrances in a Lawrenceville church
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 12/18/2011 4:18:28 AM
Waymark Code: WMDB67
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 2

Long Description:
Three relief above the three front entrances, showing the birth of Jesus, St Mary, and death of Jesus.

The current church was build and dedicated in 1955. It replaced a frame structure that was built in 1897.

from the Lawrenceville Historical Society:

By James Wudarczyk and Jude Wudarczyk

Perhaps the most visible form of ethnic identity was the creation of churches and other religious institutions. Attracted by the growing steel industry, one finds the first Slovenians migrating to Pittsburgh in 1885. By 1894 the city had a substantial colony of Slovenians, which prompted the Reverend Joseph Zalokar to initiate organizational activities. In December 1894, under Father Zalokar’s direction, three lots were purchased on 57th Street at a cost of $1,820.00, for the expressed purpose of eventually erecting a place of worship. It was not until August 15, 1897, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, that the first Mass was celebrated at the 57th Street property. Right Reverend Monsignor Tobin blessed the edifice on October 27th of the same year. The parish was appropriately named Saint Mary of the Assumption. Prior to the time of the erection of a church, religious ceremonies were conducted in the basement of Saint Mary Church in Sharpsburg and later at the cemetery chapel on Sharp’s Hill.

Father John Bezeljak, a priest from Slovenia, was appointed the first pastor. He served in this capacity starting in September 1897 until 1898 when he returned to Slovenia.

The cost of erecting the church building was $4,000.00.

A brief parish history indicated, “The first recorded baptism: Aloysius (Jankovic) Fisher, born October 28, 1897, the son of Peter (Jankovic) Fisher and Catherine Pozeg, sponsors were George and Anna Stampahar. He was baptized by Father John Bezeljak. (The family name was adopted at the time of the father’s naturalization.)” This event took place on October 30, 1897. Apparently early records were either lost or sketchy because the parish history noted that the fifth wedding between Peter Filip and Catherine Gorse took place on February 20, 1898. Although this was the fifth wedding, the history indicated that it was the first recorded marriage in the parish. Sadly, the first recorded funeral was that of ten-month old Anthony Arh, son of John and Mary Arh.

The second pastor was Father John Kranjec, who was responsible for the building of the rectory. He was recalled to Chicago in 1903, and was replaced at Saint Mary of the Assumption by Father John C. Mertel.

By the early 1900’s, some six thousand Slovenians lived in Pittsburgh. George Prpic, in his study of South Slavic immigration, indicates that Slovenian ties to the Catholic Church were a carry over from their native land. He further deduces that the Slovenians had staunchly rejected Protestantism in Europe, viewing it as a form of German nationalism.

In a relatively short period of time, Saint Mary of the Assumption parish was well established in the Slovenian community, and by 1905 the Most Reverend J. F. Regis Canevin, Bishop of Pittsburgh, received sixty-eight candidates for confirmation and ordained one priest from the parish. The ordination was that of Father Albin Moder, who celebrated his first Mass at Saint Mary Assumption on December 25, 1905.

In 1924 Father Mertel resigned the pastorate for reasons of health, and was replaced in 1925 by Father Joseph Skur from Cleveland. Reverend Skur continued in that position until his sudden death at the rectory on June 16, 1934. Father Herbert Butterbach was then appointed administrator for six months.

The fifth pastor of the parish was Father Matthew Kebe, a vocation from the parish. It was under his administration (1934-1966) that the parish experienced two major building campaigns: the construction of a new church (1955) and a new convent (1964). While Father Kebe was pastor, services were frequently conducted in Slovenian, but the use of the native tongue ceased after his retirement.

Other vocations from the parish included Fathers Herman Golobic (ordained in 1937), William Cardonic (1939), Nicholas Staresinic (1939), Rudolph Flajnik (1942), Edbert Staresinic (1943), and Richard Yagesg (1978).

The sixth pastor was Father Ferdinand B. Demsher, appointed June 6, 1966, and who served until his death on June 25, 1983. Father Robert J. Ahlin was appointed administrator of the parish on August 12, 1983.

Parochial education was closely linked to the Roman Catholic Church, both as a means of preserving the Old World languages and heritages, as well as to provide a way to function in the larger culture. Hence, one finds that Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish constructed a school in 1912. This school continued to function in the Lawrenceville community until 1971, when it was closed because of declining enrollment. Between the time when the school was founded until its closing, the facility was staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame. With the closing of the school, this order withdrew its remaining teachers. On November 4, 1972, the Ladies of Bethany came to live at the convent, where they served the community by teaching in other area schools and labored as social workers.
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Date Sculpture was opened for vewing?: 5/14/1955

Where is this sculpture?:
215 57th st
pittsburgh, pa usa

Website for sculpture?: Not listed

Sculptors Name: Not listed

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