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  • 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...
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  • 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.  ...


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Home Home History Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Rev. Dominic Zwickert
Rev. Dominic Zwickert
Born: July 3, 1833;
Grosseneder, Westphalia, Germany
Pastor: 1867-1877
Died: February 21, 1913

An unknown skeptic wrote, "This church must always remain one of the most unaccountable instances of miscalculations ever witnessed in this country. For while the congregation will number no more than 38 families, with perhaps 40 servant girls, it has no prospect whatever of doubling itself in the next 25 years. What the future of the Parish is destined to be, would be hazardous to conjecture."

In the early 1870's notices appeared in the Pittsburgh Catholic, recalling the collapse of the church. All congregations in the Diocese were urged to come to the rescue by giving financial help and aid to the unfortunate congregation.

Any plans that may have existed for the construction of a rectory were postponed. Father Zwickert lived in his sister's house in the 300 block of Centennial Avenue.



Rev. James Romefanger
Rev. James Romefanger
Born: April 7, 1852;
McKeesport, PA
Pastor: 1877-1879
Died: November 30, 1906

In the summer of 1877, Father Zwickert was transferred to Saint Mary's Church, McKees Rocks, and Rev. James Romelfanger, a native of McKees Rocks, became the new pastor. Father Romelfanger's name is oddly absent from the parish record books for most of his two years as pastor. The reason for this can be found in the following statement: "Records show that he collected for the parish in one year, as a result of preaching engagements in Pittsburgh and Buffalo, more than $6,000." In 1879 Father Romelfanger was sent to Saint Peter's Allegheny, to assist Father Richard Phelan, later the fourth bishop of Pittsburgh.






Rev. John C. Price
Rev. John C. Price
Born: July 2, 1852;
New York, NY
Pastor: 1879-1884
Died: April 11, 1911

It has been said of the next pastor, Rev. John C. Price, "he was gifted beyond the ordinary lot of men. As a scholar, a writer, a linguist, or a lecturer he might have achieved fame." The Valley Gossip reported in 1881 that Father Price delivered "A very interesting lecture on Ireland, in Saint James Church on Saint Patrick's Day. Quite a nice sum was realized which goes to help pay off the church debt."

Another note in the Gossip said, "Mr. Fred McCullough has been taking up a collection for the benefit of the widow of Mr. Billy Beatty, who was killed on the railroad while employed as a brakeman. The village priest, Father Price, subscribed without being asked. He said it was a good charitable project and he wished to give his aid to it."

Bishop John Tuigg, the third Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, visited Sewickley in 1881 in search of property on which to build a Catholic institution. The only grounds which seemed satisfactory would not be sold by the owners, despite the offer of "an enormous sum." No further records exist which might give some hint as to the type of institution Bishop Tuigg hoped to build here.



Rev. Charles J. Coyne
Rev. Charles J. Coyne
Born: October 19, 1859
Pittsburgh, PA
Pastor: 1884-1889
Died: November, 1938

Father Price was succeeded in 1884 by Rev. Charles J. Coyne. Despite lingering financial difficulties, Father Coyne served missions at Shousetown and Baden. It was reported, "Undaunted and busy about the affairs of the Lord, Father Coyne carried out the missionary work, answering sick calls, catechizing children, shepherding souls. In an open buggy in all kinds of weather, he traveled as far down as Monaca on one side of the river, and to the Conway railroad yards on the Sewickley side."

That spread-out territory now has 12 parishes with resident pastors and schools. In his five years of ministry, the church debt was reduced from $18,000 to $6,800. Father Coyne also purchased a lot, 55' x 234', adjacent to the church as the site for the rectory, on March 19, 1888. At the same time, he also purchased a four-acre plot of land for the parish's first cemetery. It was located adjacent to the Patrick Creighton land, on the north side of Blackburn Road, about one-quarter mile beyond where Sewickley Memorial Park now stands. Both pieces of property were obtained for the sum of $1,500.


Rev. Charles J. Coyne
Rev. George W. Kaylor
Born: May 21, 1863;
Loretto, PA
Pastor: 1889-1892
Died: January 7. 1900

Rev. George W. Kaylor was appointed the sixth pastor in 1889 when he was only 25 years old. Father Kaylor studied at the American College in Rome, became a Doctor of Philosophy at the age of 22 and was ordained in 1887.

The schedule of services was:

  • Sunday Mass, 8 and 10:30 a.m.
  • Daily Mass, 7:30 a.m.
  • Catechism, 8:00 p.m. on Sunday
  • Confessions each Saturday, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.

For some unexplainable reason, there are no records showing deaths in the parish prior to 1890. The first death listed in St. James' parish record books is Joseph Heuler, age three years, son of Joseph and Maggie, on June 17, 1890. Five other deaths are recorded during this year, two drowned in the Ohio River, one killed by a train and two others died of unlisted causes.