Ministries and Organizations

Want to get involved?
Click Here to download our brochure now!

Online Giving

Click to learn about our new online giving program and how it will benefit both you and St. James.

Recent News

  • 18.09.15

    Attachments:FileDescriptionRELIGIOUS ED FACT SHEET.doc ...
  • 16.02.15

    Attachments:FileDescriptionPastoral Plan 2015-2018.pdf  Year One.pdf ...
  • 20.12.14
    What is the Parish Pastoral Council?  Prior to 1999 parishes in our diocese functioned with a group of men and women, elected by the parish members under the heading of Parish Council.  There were four major committees that assisted the Pastor in managing the day-to-day tasks of running a parish.In the year 2000, the Bishop asked all the parishes to adopt a new model of operation call...
  • 19.12.14
    Patte Grey - FacilitatorIvan HofmannMarty McDanielJeff MinarekJean BleyDonna PavlisAnna VillellaLinda SoldressenDonna Best...
  • 30.04.13
    Registration forms are found under the "Forms" subsection shown above....
  • 03.03.12
    We are excited to inform you that we now offer Online Giving! As a church that seeks to serve, we wanted to provide you the convenience of being able to give the way you want, whenever you want. Online Giving offers you the opportunity to make secure, automatic contributions from your bank [or credit card] account to our church.As we begin this new program, you may notice your neighbors placin...
  • 02.08.11
      Please join the Saturday morning Men’s Bible Study in a journey through the history of the Catholic Church. Learn about the major people, places and events of two thousand years of church history. A DVD by Professor Steve Weidenkopf will be used, followed by a discussion of the material presented. Join us every Saturday morning at 7:30am in Meeting Room #1.  ...


<<  February 2018  >>
 Su  Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa 
  6  7
Home Home History Father Reid
Father Reid
Father Ambrose Reid
Father Reid
Born: June 11, 1793;
Carrickmacross, Ireland
Pastor: 1863
Died: February 14, 1868

Father Reid was born in Carrickmacross, Ireland in 1793. He was a granduncle of Judge Ambrose Reid of Pittsburgh. When he became pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church, Father Reid began ministering to the spiritual needs of Catholics in the Beaver Valley and as far north as Mercer County, traveling throughout his parish district by horse and buggy after the fashion of the circuit rider popular at that time. One day, while celebrating Mass in New Castle, members of the congregation interrupted their prayers to rush outside and protect Father Reid's horse and buggy. Stones were being thrown by local inhabitants who regarded such visits as a menace to the community.


Bishop John F. Regis Canevin, of Pittsburgh, recalled his memories of Father Reid in a letter to a friend. He wrote: "Those who knew Father Reid intimately, represented him as a man of simple faith, solid piety, great zeal, and unusual kindness. On his missionary tours he delighted in carrying with him a violin to entertain the families and neighbors at the houses where he stayed. He had great devotion to holy water, and it was his custom to sprinkle the homes which he visited in the most copious fashion. In blessing the water he never failed to add a liberal supply of salt, and the wood of his church and furniture wore a white mark on the varnish."

Sewickley was visited by Father Reid three or four times a year. We can easily imagine him traveling on Beaver Road past Old Economy, crossing the wooden bridge at Little Sewickley Creek, on his way to the simple frame house of Patrick Creighton near what is now Oliver Road and Church Land in Edgeworth. Mr. Creighton, living on the estate of Thomas Leet Shields, was encouraged by his learned employer to pursue the practice of his faith. On other visits, Father Reid stayed at the homes of Bernard Bannon or Patrick Carr in Sewickley. When he arrived, the word spread throughout the area and quickly arrangements were made to celebrate Mass, baptize the newborn, plan for weddings, and minister to the other spiritual needs of his people.

A small chapel, called St. Anthony's, was located on the farm of George Thein, in what is now Aleppo Township. Father John Stiebel, pastor of St. Mary's Church, Allegheny City, celebrated the first Mass here in 1848, and assigned various assistant priests to stop at the chapel every three weeks. Many of the families who attended this chapel later joined St. James Church, Sewickley, or St. Mary's Church, Glenfield.

A study of local history during the decade 1860-1870 reveals a fascinating story of tremendous economic growth and expansion in the Pittsburgh area. Father Reid recognized this and saw how the establishment of rail service between Pittsburgh and Ohio Valley communities was beginning to provide impetus to the desire for pastoral living. Newcomers to the Sewickley area increased steadily. Sewickley was well on the way to transformation from a small, country village to a residential community.

A goodly number of men and women employed on the luxurious estates in the area were Catholics and liberal contributors to their church. There was the customary scrupulous attendance at religious services whenever they were held. On each pay day, in addition to considering their own simple needs and remembering the "folks back home" in Europe, it became the practice to apportion wages, putting aside "God's share first"- a sum usually greater than the mere tithe.

Father Reid knew that he could depend on this small but growing group of Catholics to accept the responsibility of establishing a church. Now was the time, and in 1863, he purchased from Judge John W.F. and Mary White a plot of land, 80' x 204' in Sewickley, formerly part of the Thorn estate, for $300. He named the parish St. James the Great, after his patron saint. Father Reid also built other churches in New Castle, Cannelton, and New Bedford. A small frame church was erected on the newly purchased land by the congregation, which consisted of five families and about 30 servant girls.

Instead of a few visits a year, Father Reid now came once a month. Some persons say that the church was located close to Walnut Street in front of the present church. Any additional information that might have been recorded for this period of the parish's history was destroyed when a fire swept through SS. Peter and Paul Church, Beaver, where Father Reid's early records were kept.

As Civil War raged across the land during these years, the concern of Sewickley residents was focused on the safe return of the men at war, and the preservation of the Union. The graves of two veterans of this war are located in our parish cemetery today: Terrence Flinn, 4th Pennsylvania Lt. Artillery and Patrick Carr, Company H, 61st Pennsylvania Infantry.

Father Ambrose Reid
Father Reid's Grave

A few years after the church was built, advancing age and declining health forced Father Reid to discontinue his trips to Sewickley. He served his parish in Beaver until his death February 14, 1868, on the feast of St. Valentine, in the 75th year of his age and the 43rd year of his priesthood. A sturdy iron cross marks his grave on the crest of a hill in Dougherty's cemetery near Rochester. Nearby is the grave of another priest, and the graves of many families who came here as pioneersÉstalwart people whose strength and faith should be a source of inspiration to us.