After I became an altar boy at Holy Name, I looked forward to being scheduled for Stations of the Cross duty. Since we attended Holy Name School, we would always attend Stations of the Cross services each friday during Lent. I prefered to be the one serving which meant I didn’t have to sit still in the pews for the entire service. Being assigned to carry the cross during the event was the pinnacle of success as an altar boy, much like becoming an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts! I still remember the huge Stations of the Cross icons that hung in the church prior to their modification during a later renovation. They were glorious, elaborate, and reflected the ornate detail of the altar at the time. In retrospect, they must have been a real challange to keep clean since they were riddled with curlicues! I can still picture little old ladies in their work babushkas trying to clean them while perched on a ladder. “Sveta Marija!”
Thanks to Frank Mullen for sharing this picture of the Holy Name altar boys with Fr. Shaughnessy. Frank is the fourth from the left in the top row of altar boys. Its rather hard to imagine this large of an amount of servers today!
I wanted to continue on with the information about Duquesne’s spiritual communities as they existed 110 years ago in 1902. The following is a word for word transcript of information contained in the 1902 supplement to the Duquesne Observer. As you will see in the reprint, an error was made when headling the ethnicities of Holy Trinity and St. Hedwig’s Churches.
In the fall of 1895 prominent German Catholics of the town decided to establish a church here. M. Wolf, Peter Stinner, Sr., Peter Zewe, Sr., and Joseph Meyer got together and purchased from the Duquesne school district the old Dutchtown school property, at the corner of West Grant avenue and Aurilles street, paying therefor $3,500. A canvass developed the fact that the proposed parish numbered 40 families, and an application was immediately made to the Bishop for an organization. The request was granted before the close of 1895 and the congregation organized with Rev. Father Ehrhart as priest. In November, 1897, Father Ehrhart was succeeded by Rev. Father Joseph Linder. The latter died on July 24, 1899, and on August 13, of the same year, Rev. Father Charles Dewell assumed the duties of priest. The parish now numbers 100 families, and the present trustees are N. Schauming, John Meter, Peter Stinner, Sr., Nich. Bach. August Stinner, Peter Stein, and John Ohler. The church is known as St. Joseph’s German Catholic church. The building has been considerably enlarged and is well adapted for the purpose. A rectory has also been erected on West Grant avenue, and the congregation has had plans prepared for a $20,000 church edifice, to be built during the coming year.
St. Dominick’s Catholic chapel is the oldest house of public worship in the town. It is situated near the western limits of the borough and was erected in 1872. The ground was donated by Jordan S. Neel for church and school purposes. Services have been conducted in the chapel now just often enough to fulfill the obligation imposed by the donor of the property.
One of the few Greek Catholic churches in this country has a home in Duquesne. It is known as the “Greek Catholic Church of St. Nicholas” and was organized in May, 1891, with a parish of nearly 100 families. Immediately after the organization the congregation erected a neat frame building on Oak street, Third ward, and in July of the same year occupied it for the first time as a place of worship. From the time of organization to November, 1898, Rev. Father Stephen Jackovich was the priest, but during that month he was succeeded by Rev. Father Antony Mhley. About a year ago Rev. Julius Stankanetz took charge of the congregation and remained at its head until May 17, 1901. ON June 23, 1901, Rev. Father J. Polivka was placed in charge. The parish as present numbers 200 families, its members coming not only from Duquesne, but also from McKeesport and other surrounding towns. After some repairs to the building, the church was rededicated on August 5, 1894.
In Collin’s hall, March 17, 1889, was formed the First Baptist church, the organization being effected by Rev. T. H. Chapman of Pittsburg. Ten members were enrolled, among them John R. Davies, Chas. Beddow, Fred. Rawlings and wife and Mrs. Robert Snowden. The first deacons were, Jas. McGilchrist, Jon. R. Davies and Chas. Beddow. On January 11, 1891, Wm. Oliver donated two lots for a church building at the corner of Hamilton avenue and North Second street, and during the same year the present building was erected at the cost of $3,000. Pastors who have served the congregation were called on the following dates:
Aug. 3, 1890, Rev. A. Turner; Jan. 17, 1892, Rev. W. S. Wood; May 21, 1893, Rev. G. F. Wainwaring; about Feb 28, 1895, Rev. C. A. Wilson; Dec. 14, 1895, Rev. J. K. Cramer, who served until Feb. 12, 1901, when he resigned on account of failing health. He had been engaged in active ministry 49 years. On July 7, 1901, a call was extended to and accepted by Rev. R. A. McFall, the present pastor. Present membership, 100. Present board of deacons, Chas. Beddow, John R. Davies, Joshua Davies and Wm. Clement.
Epicopal Church – Holy Trinity – A.M.E. Church and St. Hedwig’s Church write-up from The Duquesne Observer Supplement of 1902.