Saint Philip Neri, Donora

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Additional Information:

Open Date:

1923

Close Date:

1992

This parish is presently located at:

Ethnicity:

Italian

Neighborhoods Served:

Donora

Parish History

St. Philip was founded in 1923 as an Italian ethnic parish.  The origin of the parish can be traced to the rise in Italian immigration to Donora in the beginning of the twentieth century.  In 1919 a committee of local Italians petitioned the Bishop for permission to form a parish.  Land was purchased and the committee began raising funds for a church building.  The cornerstone of the church was laid on May 13, 1923.  On September 24, 1923, a pastor was assigned to the parish.  Mass was celebrated in the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary until the church was completed.  Finally, on March 2,1924, St. Philip Neri church was dedicated.

In 1956 the parish requested permission to raise funds to build a new church.  On April 19, 1959, ground was broken for a new combination church and school building.  The cornerstone was dedicated on March 27, 1960.   

As the rise of population at the beginning of the century led to the creation of the parish, the drop of population near the end of the century led to its suppression.  By the early 1990's, it became obvious that Donora could not support four parishes.  In 1992, the four parishes in Donora were merged to form the new Our Lady of the Valley parish.  The St. Philip Neri church remained open along with St. Dominic church to serve the new parish.

However, the population in the Mon Valley continued to decline.  By the early 21st century, it became obvious that the area could no longer support the number of parishes and churches then in existence.  In October of 2007, the parishes in Monongahela, Charleroi and Donora took part in a two year study to look at the future of the Church in the region.  The study considered the demographics, spiritual needs, financial stability and an assessment of the parish buildings in the three communities.  The study developed several recommendations, including the recommendation that St. Dominic Church be closed.  The bishop accepted this recommendation and on August 15, 2011 St. Dominic Church closed and St. Philip Neri was renamed Our Lady of the Valley church.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

First St. Philip church, 1943
Altar of first St. Philip church, 1943
St. Philip Church, 2002

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