Holy Rosary, Homewood

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Parish History

Holy Rosary was established in 1893.  The origin of the church can be traced to the urbanization of the Homewood-Brushton area.  With the expansion of industry in central Pittsburgh pushing residential neighborhoods outward and the building of electric street railway lines connecting Homewood to the city, the population grew rapidly.  On May 1, 1892, a group of local Catholics purchased land in Homewood and on June 13, 1892, deeded it to the bishop for the use of St. Anne Church.  Early in 1893, work began on the new church.  On May 12, 1893, a resident pastor was assigned to the parish.

The first Mass of the new parish was celebrated in a room over a saloon.  The cornerstone of the church was laid on June 25, 1893.  At some point between the establishment of the parish boundaries in June of 1893 and the dedication of the new church in October, the parish's name was changed from St. Anne to Holy Rosary.  Holy Rosary Church was dedicated on October 8, 1893.

Homewood continued to grow and by 1899 plans were drawn up to build a new church. The cornerstone of the church was laid on July 2, 1899, and the completed church was dedicated on May 20, 1900.  The old church was sold and the new owner moved it across the street and converted it into an apartment building.

The church included a hall in the basement.  In 1904, this hall was converted to classrooms.  In 1910, a new school was built around the church building. 

The congregation continued to grow.  By the mid-1920's the parish was the largest in the diocese.  Again, the parish was faced with the need for a larger church.  On March 17, 1928, ground was broken for a new church.  The cornerstone was laid on August 26, 1928, and the church was dedicated on October 12, 1930.  The old church was converted to a school annex and auditorium until fire struck it on February 15, 1957.  The building was so badly damaged in this fire that it was later torn down.

The church was struck by arson on March 14, 1984.  The building suffered significant damage, but the building itself was saved.  Repairs were completed by October.

As late as 1948, the congregation was the largest in the diocese.  However, following World War II, the population of the city began migrating to the suburbs.  As the century progressed, the congregation continued to shrink.  By the 1990's the population of the area had dropped to the point that it could no longer support the number of independent parishes then in existence.  In 1992, Holy Rosary merged with five other parishes to form the new St. Charles Lwanga parish.  Holy Rosary Church remains open and continues to serve the new parish.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

The second Holy Rosary Church, after it was converted to the school annex, 1932
Holy Rosary Church, 1932
Holy Rosary Church, 2002
Interior of Holy Rosary Church, 2002

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