Saint Dominic, Donora

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Parish History

St. Dominic was founded in 1902 as a Slovak ethnic parish.  The founding of the church was a result of the immigration of Slovaks into Donora.  In April of 1902 a committee of Slovaks successfully petitioned the Bishop for permission to form a parish. On August 7 of that year, a pastor was assigned to the parish.  At first the church was named Most Holy Name of Jesus.  Shortly afterwards, property containing two buildings was purchased by the parish.  One of the buildings was renovated and by October the church was ready for use.  In November, the parish was renamed St. Dominic.

In 1905, the church committee decided that a new church was needed.  On June 12, the building that served as the original church was sold, dismantled and moved to another site where it was converted to a private residence.  On June 17, construction began on the new church.  On October 1, the cornerstone was laid and the first Mass was celebrated in the new building on April 15, 1906.

In 1949, the church was remodeled and enlarged.  On May 7, 1950, the  newly renovated church was dedicated.

As the rise of population in Donora at the beginning of the twentieth century led to the creation of the parish, the loss of population in Donora near the end of the century led to its closing.  In 1992, St. Dominic was merged with three other parishes to form the new Our Lady of the Valley parish.  The St. Dominic church building remained open and served the new parish.

However, the population in the Mon Valley continued to decline.  By the early 21st century, it became obvious that the area could no longer support the number of parishes and churches then in existence.  In October of 2007, the parishes in Monongahela, Charleroi and Donora took part in a two year study to look at the future of the Church in the region.  The study considered the demographics, spiritual needs, financial stability and an assessment of the parish buildings in the three communities.  The study developed several recommendations, including the recommendation that St. Dominic Church be closed.  The bishop accepted this recommendation and on August 15, 2011 St. Dominic Church closed.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. Dominic Church, 1932
Interior of St. Dominic, 1932
St. Dominic Church, 2002
Interior of church, 2002

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