Holy Souls, Carnegie

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Parish History

Holy Souls was established in 1921 as an Italian parish.  The origin of the parish can be traced to the development of industry in Carnegie and the subsequent rise in population to work in the mills.  Among the immigrants arriving in Carnegie were a number of Italians.  At first these Italians attended the existing parishes in Carnegie.  In 1921, an Italian priest arrived in Carnegie to organize a parish.  The first Mass of the new parish was celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church on October 25, 1921.

In December, the parish purchased a small building that has been alternately described as a barn, stable or blacksmith shop.  The building was quickly converted to a temporary church and the first Mass in the building was celebrated on Christmas Day, 1921.  As it was obvious that this building was too small for long term use, the parish began raising funds for a new church the next year.  Work on the new church began in 1923 and the completed church was dedicated on March 30, 1924.  The original building was then converted to a parish hall.  In 1937, the interior of the church was renovated with the addition of wall paintings.

The new church served the parish for over 30 years.  However, by the late 1950's the church was in poor condition.  In 1959, the condition of the church was so bad that it could no longer be safely occupied.  The last Mass in the church was celebrated on July 2, 1959.  The church was razed shortly thereafter.  While the new church was being constructed, Mass was moved to the parish auditorium.  Ground for the new church was broken on March 12, 1961.  The first Mass in the new church was celebrated on Christmas Day of 1961 and the building was formally dedicated on August 15, 1962.

As the rise of industry and population at the beginning of the century led to the creation of the parish, the loss of industry and population at the end of the century led to its suppression.  By 1992 Carnegie could no longer support the number of parishes in existence.  In that year, Holy Souls merged with five other parishes to form the new St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish.  Holy Souls Church remained open and continued to serve the new parish.

This situation changed on September 17, 2004 when heavy rains caused by Hurricane Ivan led to severe flooding in Carnegie.  Holy Souls Church was one of the building damaged by the flooding as flood waters filled the church up to the top of the pews.  The damage necessitated closing the church.  The flooding also damaged St. Luke Church, so the parish consolidated its services in St. Ignatius Church.  Faced with the costs of repairing Holy Souls Church, the parish studied the options and decided that they did not need as many church buildings as they had.  On December 30, 2005, the parish formally petitioned the diocese for permission to formally close the church and put it up for sale.  This permission was granted on February 27, 2006 and the building was sold on September 13, 2006 to the Carnegie Community Development Corporation.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

First Holy Souls Church, 1932
Second Holy Souls Church, 1932
Interior of second church, 1932
Holy Souls Church, 2002

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