Saint Augustine, Lawrenceville

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Parish History

St. Augustine was founded in 1863 as a German ethnic parish.  The origin of the parish can actually be traced to the year 1854.  Germans had been settling in Lawrenceville for a number of years.  They attended St. Philomena to attend Mass and sent their children to school at either St. Philomena or the English school at St. Mary.  Concerned with the distance that the children had to walk to attend St. Philomena, local Catholics in cooperation with the Redemptorist Fathers at St. Philomena established a school in a Lawrenceville home.  As the number of children attending the school increased, the school was moved to an unused storeroom and later to a community hall.

The school's first few years were unsettled.  Various teachers came and went and the school discontinued operations for a brief period.  Eventually, local German Catholics decided that the only way to have an effective school was to establish a parish to oversee it.  In 1860, a meeting was held to take steps to establish a parish and school.  In April of 1860, land was purchased for a parish.

Assisting in the development of the new parish was Fr. George Kircher, who had been appointed pastor of Holy Trinity in the Hill District in 1860.  In 1861, he began working with the German Catholics in Lawrenceville to establish an independent parish.  In that year, the bishop granted permission to build a church for the Germans in Lawrenceville.  However, they first built a school which was dedicated on December 15, 1861.  Beginning on February 2, 1862, Mass was celebrated in the school. 

On June 22, 1862, the cornerstone of the new church was laid.  In December of that year a resident pastor was assigned to the parish.  The completed church was dedicated on November 26, 1863.  By the end of the century, this church needed extensive repair and renovation.  Rather than expend money on the existing building, the parish decided to build a new church.  The cornerstone of the new church was laid on October 29, 1899, and the completed church was dedicated on May 21, 1901.  The old church was renovated and turned into a parish hall.  Part of the tower was removed and the transepts were closed with a wall.  This building was eventually torn down in 1955.

Beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, people began moving from the city.  By the 1990's Lawrenceville could no longer sustain the number of existing churches.  In 1993, St. Augustine was merged with three other parishes to form the new Our Lady of the Angels parish.  St. Augustine church remains open and serves the new parish.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

Original St. Augustine church after it was turned into a hall, 1933
Second St. Augustine church, 1933
Main altar of second church, 1933
Side altar of second church, 1933

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