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All the pieces that make up a church by Gabrielle Mazza

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Gabrielle Mazza Gabrielle  Mazza
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Date added
Apr 21, 2009
Date taken
Apr 20, 2009
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GigapanMagazine.org Will open in a new tab or window vol 1 issue 1

A look inside St. Mary of Mercy Church in PIttsburgh, PA. A church that has and is serving many people in the downtown.

In 1868, a group of Irish immigrants living in the section of the City of Pittsburgh which is now known as "The Point,", established a parish which began with a small chapel that served as a mission of the Cathedral. The parish was placed under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Mercy, but in the course of time, it became known to the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh as Saint Mary of the Point. The Right Reverend Monsignor Andrew Arnold Lambing. LL.D., noted area historian of the area, was appointed the first Pastor of Saint Mary of Mercy Church in 1874.

In less than fifty years, Saint Mary's was the center of a great missionary endeavor. The Missionary Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, founded in 1908, was organized principally to attend to the spiritual needs of Catholics living in the mining towns of Western Pennsylvania. Since its founding, approximately 80 missions were formed, from which numerous parishes were established in the Pittsburgh and Greensburg Dioceses.

The present Saint Mary of Mercy Church, built in 1935, is the closest church to the location of the original Fort Duquesne.

It accommodates 850 people. Its unique interior arrangement is worth inspecting. Although it now has few parishioners, it serves hundreds of visitors weekly.

History points to Sieur Robert de La Salle as the first European to see the spot where the Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers join to form the Ohio. It is very probable that his expedition was accompanied by chaplains, for it was customary with the French at that time. If so, it is likely that Mass was first celebrated within what is now Allegheny County in 1670, perhaps within the current limits of Pittsburgh.

It is certain that priests accompanied the second expedition of M de Lery to the Allegheny area in 1729 and also the expedition of Celoron de Blainville in 1749 and that Mass was offered within the present diocesan limits on those occasions. A permanent place of worship was established by the French within the stockade of Fort Duquesne, within two blocks of the present site of Saint Mary of Mercy Church.

The French forces arrived on the evening of April 16, 1754 and the following morning their chaplain, The Reverend Denys Baron, a Recollect Friar, celebrated the Mass. The chapel was built and dedicated under the title of "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin of the Beautiful River."

On April 21, 1929, the one hundred seventy-fifth anniversary, the bronze historical marker now reposing on the north wall of Saint Mary of Mercy Church, was unveiled by the Most Reverend Bishop Hugh C. Boyle, following his celebration of Mass on that occasion


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