Saint Denis, Versailles

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Parish History

St. Denis was established on June 16, 1955.  The origin of the parish can be traced back to 1949, when a group of local Catholics in Versailles sent a petition to the bishop requesting a parish.  The bishop responded that he did not have any priests available to form a new parish, but that when a priest became available, he would be sent to them.  This promise was finally fulfilled in 1955.

The first Mass of the new parish was celebrated in the Croatian Fraternal Union Hall on June 16, 1955.  The parish used the hall for Sunday Masses for two years until they could build a church.  Daily Masses, weddings, funerals and baptisms were celebrated at St. Peter Church, McKeesport.

On December 16, 1956, ground was broken for a combination church and school building.  The ground floor of the building served as the church and the upper floors as the school.  The church was dedicated on November 3, 1957, although the school did not open until the fall of 1959.

Unfortunately, soon after the church opened, the population of the area began to drop.  By the early 1990's the population of the area had dropped to the point that it could no longer support the number of independent parishes in existence.  In October of 1993, St. Denis merged with its mission of St. Patrick, Alpsville and St. Perpetua in McKeesport to form the new St. Patrick parish.  At first, St. Denis Church remained open and continued to serve the new parish.  However, in 1995, the parish conducted a study to determine if it was feasible to keep the church open.  Based on the study, the parish decided to close St. Denis Church.  The final Mass at St. Denis was celebrated on November 26, 1995.  The building was sold shortly afterwards.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

Croatian Hall, site of the first Mass of St. Denis, 1956
Sunday Mass in Croatian Hall, 1957
Interior of St. Denis Church, undated

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