Holy Cross, South Side

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South Side

Parish History

Holy Cross was established in 1883.  The origin of the parish can be traced to the growth in industry in the South Side of Pittsburgh and the arrival of immigrants to work in the factories.  Among these immigrants were a number of Irish.  These new arrivals attended either St. John the Evangelist or St. Malachy in the South Side or St. James in the West End.  In January 1883, the bishop sent a priest to the area known as Brownstown to conduct a census of the Catholic families.  This census disclosed that the Irish Catholic population was great enough to support a parish and in April of that year, a priest was assigned to form a new parish.  The first Mass of the new parish was celebrated in a private home in that month.  Shortly afterwards, on July 23, 1883, the parish purchased land for a church.  Ground was broken before the end of the year and a one story building with a flat roof was completed in 1884 and dedicated as the new church.  Two years later, a second floor was added to the building to serve as a school.

As the population of the area grew, the eastern part of the parish split off and formed Holy Angels parish in 1903.  Fire struck the church sacristy on July 12, 1936.  Luckily, the fire was contained and the building was saved.  As repairs to the building were completed, the parish celebrated Mass at St. Peter parish.  By the middle of the century, the population of the area began moving to greener pastures.  In 1949, the J & L Steel Corporation began making plans to expand their South Side works.  These plans included land occupied by the church.  On December 31, 1949, the church property was sold to the Monongahela Connecting Railroad, a subsidiary of J & L.  The final Mass in the church was celebrated on June 10, 1950.  The church was torn down shortly afterwards.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

Holy Cross church/school building, undated.

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