Saint Helen, East Pittsburgh

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Additional Information:

Open Date:

1917

Close Date:

2014

Ethnicity:

Slovak

Neighborhoods Served:

East Pittsburgh

Parish History

St. Helen was founded in 1917 as a Slovak parish.  Before the parish was established, Slovak Catholics living in East Pittsburgh had to travel to St. Michael the Archangel in Braddock to attend Mass.  The distance they had to go led to their petitioning the bishop for their own church.  The first Mass of the parish took place in 1917 in a rented storeroom.  The parish was a mission of St. Michael until July of 1918, when a resident pastor was assigned.  Land for a church was purchased in September of 1918 and a temporary wooden church was quickly constructed.  The first Mass in the new church was celebrated in November of 1918.

The parish continued to raise funds for a permanent church.  Work on the church began in 1929.  The cornerstone was laid on July 5, 1929, and the completed church was dedicated on May 30, 1931.  The old church was converted into a social hall until 1961 when it was torn down.

As the century progressed, the population of East Pittsburgh began to decline.  By the 1990's, the population of East Pittsburgh had dropped to the point that the community could no longer support two independent parishes.  In May of 1994, St. Helen merged with St. William to form the new Holy Cross parish.  St. Helen church was kept open to serve the new parish.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

Original St. Helen Church, 1933
St. Helen Church, 1933
Altar of St. Helen, 1933

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