11:30 am (10:30 during summer months)
M/T/W/F 8:00 am
Th 7:00 pm
After 7:00 p.m. Mass
St. Clare was formed in 1994 as part of the diocesan reorganization and revitalization. The parish was formed by merging the three parishes then existing in Clairton: St. Clare of Assisi, St. Joseph and St. Paulinus. St. Clare of Assisi Church was closed after the merger, but St. Joseph and St. Paulinus remained open and continued to serve the new parish. But it quickly became obvious that the parish could not support two church buildings. On September 8, 2007, the parish received permission to close St. Paulinus Church from the diocese and celebrated the final Mass in the church on September 30. St. Joseph Church was renamed St. Clare of Assisi.
St. Mary parish was established in 1994 as a territorial parish. The origin of the parish can be traced to 1852, when St. Mary was founded as a German parish. In 1994 the German parish was suppressed and the parish was reborn as a territorial parish.
This parish, though, was doomed to a short existence. As the twenty-first century began, it became obvious that Sharpsburg could no longer support three independent parishes. On March 1, 2009, St. Mary merged with Madonna of Jerusalem and St. John Cantius parishes to form the new St. Juan Diego Parish. St. Mary Church remains open and continues to serve the new parish.
St. Joseph was founded in 1883. However, the origin of the parish can be traced back to 1852. In that year, the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company built salt works on the Allegheny River. The town of Natrona developed as workers arrived in the area to work in the new industry. A significant number of these workers were Catholic. At first they had to travel to Freeport to attend Mass. In 1858, the pastor of St. Mary, Father Richard Phelan who later became bishop, began celebrating Mass periodically in private homes in Natrona.
In 1868, the salt company donated land for a church. A small frame church was built that summer and dedicated on August 22, 1868. At this point, Mass was celebrated in the church twice a month. The population continued to grow and the church had to be enlarged in 1874 and again in 1875. Beginning in 1876, Mass was celebrated at St. Joseph weekly.
In 1883, the parish became independent with the assignment of a resident pastor. In 1887, the parish purchased land for a new church, school, rectory and convent. Work on the church began in 1895. On August 4, 1895, the cornerstone of the church was laid. The completed church was dedicated in April of 1897. Sometimes afterward, the original church was dismantled and the land returned to the salt company.
This church served the community for close to a century. Over the years, the church was renovated several times and survived the flood of 1936 and a fire in 1965. However, it could not survive the loss of population in the area in the late twentieth century.
By 1992, it became obvious that Natrona could no longer support three independent parishes. In that year, St. Joseph merged with St. Ladislaus and St. Mathias to form a new parish, which was named St. Joseph. St. Joseph Church was closed as part of the merger and the building was destroyed in a fire on January 30, 2001.
St. James was founded in 1847. The origin of the parish can be traced to 1838, when the first known Mass was celebrated in the town by a priest visiting from Pittsburgh. These visits continued, irregularly at first, but eventually once a month. Until 1847, Mass was celebrated in private homes. In 1847 responsibility for New Bedford passed to Ss. Peter and Paul in Beaver. The pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul built a church on donated land in New Bedford that was dedicated as St. James the Apostle. In 1854, the mission transferred to St. Mary in New Castle.
Other events were taking place at this time that would affect the parish. The individual who donated the land for the church made an additional land donation for an orphanage. A building for the orphans was erected and some were transferred from Pittsburgh, but the attempt was soon abandoned as impractical. During the 1850's the land was sold to the Diocese of Cleveland. The bishop of Cleveland sent the Sisters of Charity to open an orphanage. St. James remained open and was still visited by priests from the Diocese of Pittsburgh until 1862. After that, St. James became the responsibility of the Diocese of Cleveland.
As New Castle and Youngstown began growing, people began drifting away from the New Bedford area. The individuals who remained began attending services in the orphanage chapel. St. James church was abandoned in 1873 and eventually was converted to classrooms.
No photographs exist of this St. James Church.
Mary Immaculate was established in 1940 as a mission of the Italian Regina Coeli parish. The mission was established to meet the needs of the Italian residents of the East North Side. In 1939 the priests of Regina Coeli conducted a census of the East North Side and found about 400 families in the district. In 1940, the bishop gave his permission for the parish to establish a mission there. The first Mass in the new mission was celebrated in the American Legion Hall on July 21, 1940. Mass continued to be held in the American Legion Hall until the mission could get its own church.
On December 24, 1940, the parish purchased the Tenth United Presbyterian Church. Renovations to the building began on February 1, 1941. The new church was dedicated on June 29, 1941. This church remained a mission of Regina Coeli until 1964. In that year, St. Cyprian Church was sold and slated for destruction to make room for an urban renewal project. Mary Immaculate was merged with St. Cyprian to form the new Mary Immaculate-St. Cyprian parish. Mary Immaculate Church remained open to serve as the church for the new congregation.
St. Matthew was founded as a Slovak parish in 1903. The founding of the church can be traced to the influx of Slovak immigrants to Pittsburgh to work in the city's mills. Initially, Slovaks living in the South Side attended St. Elizabeth Church in the Strip District. As the population grew, the Slovaks of the South Side petitioned for their own church in 1902. Once they received permission from the bishop, they purchased property in 1903. The cornerstone for the church was laid on July 4, 1905 and the completed church was dedicated on September 23, 1906.
This church served the community for the total life of the parish. It was renovated and remodeled in 1955 and in 1966. As early as the mid-1950's the parish's population began to drop as parishioners began to move to the suburbs. By the early 1990's, the population of the South Side as a whole dropped so much that a consolidation of the South Side parishes became necessary. This consolidation led to the creation of Prince of Peace parish in 1992. Although St. Matthew was no longer an independent parish, the church itself remained open as a worship site of Prince of Peace parish.
St. Henry parish was founded in 1903. The creation of the parish was the result of the growth of population in the South Pittsburgh area. The first Mass was held in a rented hall on the first Sunday in November, but it soon became obvious that the hall was inadequate. By the end of the month work was begun on a small frame church that was completed by Christmas. Initially, the church was named St. Gregory, but the name was soon changed to St. Henry.
Beginning in early 1904, work was begun on a new combination church and school. The cornerstone was laid on July 17, 1904 and was dedicated on January 25, 1905. The first floor of the building was used as school and the second floor was the church.
This church served the community for over 40 years. In 1945 a building fund for a new church was started and in 1949 the parish received permission from the Bishop to begin construction. Ground was broken on October 15, 1950 and the church was dedicated on November 26, 1952. In 1959, the old combined church and school was condemned and torn down.
As the growth of population at the beginning of the century led to the creation of the parish, the loss of population in Pittsburgh near the end of the century led to its closing. In 1994, St. Henry was merged with three other parishes to form St. John Vianney parish. At first the church remained open and served the new parish. As time went by, however, the population of the area continued to decline. In 2004, St. John Vianney parish initiated a pastoral planning committee to study whether the parish needed to keep all its churches open. The committee recommended that the parish only keep one church open. St. Henry was one of the churches identified for closing. The final Mass of the church was celebrated on August 28, 2005.