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  • 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...
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  • 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.  ...


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Home Home History Mid 20th Century
Mid 20th Century
Rev. George F. Hurley
Rev. George F. Hurley
Born: October 25, 1893;
Tarentum, PA
Pastor: 1942-1964
Died: October 7, 1964

Long-range plans for building a new school for Saint James Parish began to take shape in 1946 when property was purchased on the corner of Broad and Bank Streets, from the Staunton Farm Corporation. This was the site of the former home of Joseph W. Craig. This purchase was paid for in three months and the parish was free of debt once again; free to start a fund for the building itself.

During his next eight years, Father Hurley and his parishioners struggled to relieve the teachers and children of the almost impossible conditions in the old school building. Four nuns managed somehow to teach two classes each, in four classrooms. The enrollment reached 200 and new applications had to be turned away with the apology, "no room." Summer festivals, bazaars, benefit parties and other activities were held by parish organizations to raise funds for the school. A trade school was organized by the Saint Vincent de Paul Society to give supplementary vocational training to the children.

Finally, in 1953, Bishop John F. Dearden, the seventh Bishop of Pittsburgh, granted permission to build the school. On a cold day in December, the sun broke through the clouds to warm and brighten the hopes of the group who marched in procession from the Church to witness the groundbreaking ceremony.

Construction began on the first phase of the project: building the basement hall and six classrooms on the first floor. The cornerstone was laid on April 25, 1954; permission was granted to complete the second floor on September 9th; Bishop Dearden officially dedicated and blessed the school on October 3rd. The entire project cost approximately $356, 609.

Another land acquisition, essential for the future development of the church-school complex, was made in 1957 when the Dorian Club property was purchased. It was located between the convent and the school, facing Broad Street. The annex to the Dorian Club building was renovated and became known as the "Activities Hall!" It was used until 1964 as a meeting place for the parish.

Injured in an automobile accident and beset with a lingering illness, Father Hurley was unable to devote full time and energy to his parish. During the illness, Bishop John J. Wright appointed Father Hurley's assistant, Rev. James C. Biller, Vicar Adjutor, empowered to administer the spiritual and temporal affairs of the St. James Parish. Father Biller was transferred to another parish in 1962, and Father Paul Savage succeeded him. In 1963, Bishop Wright granted permission to build a new church and purchase two remaining pieces of property on Walnut Street.

Father Hurley died on October 7, 1964, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. In his 44 years as priest, he dedicated himself to bringing people to a better understanding of Christ. It is said that his outstanding characteristic was a never failing kindness to all who came in contact with him. Just a few weeks before his death, Father Hurley said that he believed God would forgive us a lot as long as we were kind. He was pastor of St. James for 23 years. On December 29th, Monsignor Raymond A. Must was appointed to succeed Father Hurley.

Original plans for the new church were replaced with new drawings and specifications. On March 16, 1967, the Chancery granted permission to expend the sum of $600,000 for the construction of the Church and rectory. Of this amount, permission was granted to borrow $398,000. Work began on April 10th and official groundbreaking took place on Sunday, April 30. At 4:00 p.m., on Sunday, October 29, 1967, nearly 300 parishioners and their families gathered on the dirt floor of the partially completed church to witness the laying of the cornerstone.

Construction of the church and rectory progressed according to schedule. Those of us who watched the buildings rise, know the joy we felt when we realized how beautiful they would be. As the works of art arrived and the interior furnishings began to be assembled, parishioners frequently could be seen peering through the windows for a glance at the latest additions, or listening to Monsignor Must explain proudly the significance of each carefully selected item.

Finally, the dates were set to pay our last respects to the old church and move into the new one: July 20, open house for the new Rectory; July 21, blessing of the altars in the new church; July 22, opening of Triduum in the old church; July 25, Feast of St. James, last Mass celebrated in the old church at 10:00 a.m., and first Mass in the new church 7:00 p.m. followed by a parish reception; Sunday, September 29, blessing and dedication of the new church by His Excellency, Most Reverend John J. Wright.

The history of St. James Church is a testimony to the vision and courage of dedicated clergy and lay people. Its growth parallels the growth of the Catholic Church in America during the past century. It has experienced the transition of the Church from the pioneer days to the ecumenical spirit of Vatican Council II.

From the shelter of its sanctuary it has witnessed (as of 1968) over:

  • 5,200 Baptisms;
  • 2,560 Confirmations;
  • 2,000 First Communions;
  • 1,375 Weddings;
  • 1,050 Deaths;
  • and 880 Burials in our cemetery.

Today, the congregation numbers 3,570 persons and 950 families. Our task is to carry forward this proud heritage to bring God and His people together in His house of peace.