Saint Canice, Knoxville

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Additional Information:

Open Date:

1892

Close Date:

1994

This parish is presently located at:

Neighborhoods Served:

Knoxville

Parish History

St. Canice was founded in 1892.  The founding of the church was a result of the growth of population in the Pittsburgh communities of Knoxville, Allentown and Beltzhoover.  In 1886, the area German Catholics founded St. George, a German parish.  By 1892, the English speaking Catholics of the area formed a committee to petition the diocese to form a territorial parish in the area.  Permission was granted and property for a church was purchased in February of 1892.

The parish rented the old South Street Methodist Episcopal church from that congregation as a temporary church until the new church was completed.  The building was remodeled and the first Mass was held there on August 28, 1892.  After almost two years of fund raising, ground breaking for the new church took place in June of 1894.  At the same time, the Methodist Episcopal Church found a purchaser for the property the parish was renting and the parish had to find new temporary quarters.  In July of 1894, the congregation moved into a GAR hall on Arlington Ave.  Meanwhile, work continued on the new church.  The cornerstone was laid in October of 1894 and the completed church was dedicated on August 4, 1896.

As the congregation grew, the need for a larger church became apparent.  Rather than raze the church and build a new one, the decision was made to add an addition to the church.  A chapel was added to the east side of the building in December of 1927.  Another addition was added to the west side of the building in 1932.  The result of these additions was a church that is wider than it is long.

A fire broke out in the church on February 24, 1941.  It was quickly extinguished and did not cause serious damage.  A second, more serious, fire occurred on May 21, 1967.  This fire caused heavy damage to the original central part of the church.  The church was repaired and reopened in February 1968.

Due to the loss of population in Pittsburgh in the 1970's and 1980's, there were not enough people in the city to support all of the parishes in existence.  As part of the diocesan reorganization and revitalization project in the early 1990's, St. Canice and three other parishes were merged to form the new 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. Canice was one of the churches identified for closing.  The final Mass of the church was celebrated on August 21, 2005.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. Canice, 1992

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