Purification of the B.V.M., Ellwood City

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Additional Information:

Open Date:

1916

Close Date:

2000

This parish is presently located at:

Ethnicity:

Italian

Neighborhoods Served:

Ellwood City

Parish History

Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded in 1916 as an Italian ethnic parish.  The origins of the parish can be traced to the large number of Italian immigrants to Ellwood City beginning in the mid-1880's.  At first, most of the Italian immigrants found work with the railroads and local quarries, but they branched out to other occupations as time went by.  For a number of years, the local Italians attended St. Agatha parish, Ellwood City.  By 1916, the Italian population grew large enough to support an independent parish.  Ground for a new church was broken on July 4, 1916, and the completed church was dedicated on March 10, 1918. 

The population grew steadily over the years and by 1929 it was obvious that a new, larger church was needed.  In that year, the parish signed a contract with the Aetna Standard Engineering Company.  Under this contract, the parish received property on which stood a building that previously served as a Methodist Episcopal Church in exchange for the property containing the Purification Church.  The newly purchased building was extensively remodeled, with the cornerstone laid on Thanksgiving Day of 1929 and the new church was dedicated on March 23, 1930.  The congregation continued to grow and in 1940 an addition was added to the church building.  This addition was dedicated on April 20, 1940.

The church served the congregation adequately for another 25 years.  But by the mid-1960's it became obvious that an even larger church was needed.  Groundbreaking for the new church took place on May 12, 1968 and on April 19, 1970, the new church was dedicated.  The old church was torn down shortly afterwards.

As the growth of population in the area during the beginning of the century led to the creation of Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish, so the loss of population at the end of the century led to its demise as an independent parish.  By the late 1990's it became obvious that Ellwood City could no longer support two independent parishes.  On February 5, 2000, Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Agatha merged, creating the new Holy Redeemer parish.  At first, both churches remained opened, but it soon became obvious that the parish could not support two buildings.  On September 8, 2007, the parish officially closed St. Agatha and renamed Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Holy Redeemer Church.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

Altar, 1932
Interior, 1932
Exterior, 1932
Exterior with new addition, 1941
Third church, 2002

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