› Our Mission
› Mission Background
Since 1907, the people of St. Scholastica have joined together to form a multi-generational Parish serving Aspinwall, Pennsylvania and the surrounding neighborhoods. The Parish respects and adheres to the teachings and traditions of the Church while striving to evolve to remain a strong and vibrant resource for all of God’s people.
Our Parish’s namesake, Saint Scholastica, was a sixth century Catholic nun and mystic. She was said to have been extraordinarily devoted to Christ and to her brother, Saint Benedict. Saint Gregory the Great noted that Saint Scholastica and her brother had such remarkable devotion because their minds were “ever united in the Lord.”
What a wonderful example for our Parish community!
›› Our Parish Mission
Our Parish Mission is to continue the work of Christ together, as a faith community, through the celebration of the Sacraments, living spiritually in the world, and working to be caring members of the community. As committed Catholics,
we are sent to bear the Light of Christ to transform the world by our devotion, service, and witness.
Come! Connect your faith with the world you live in!
› A Brief History
Saint Scholastica Parish began with a petition by twenty Catholic families in the Aspinwall area asking for the establishment of a parish in the year 1903. In 1905, the Diocese approved a mission church in Aspinwall under the guidance of Fr. Thomas Rosensteel of St. Joseph Parish in Sharpsburg. The community celebrated their first Mass on April 30 on the second floor of McKenzie's Hall at 227 Commercial Avenue.
The first eight lots of the present property were purchased from the Aspinwall-Delafield Company for $9,000 in 1906. The deed required a name for the parish and Bishop Canevin supplied it: St. Scholastica. The next year, the Diocese established the parish boundaries and appointed Fr. John Hackett as the first pastor.
Construction of a small church at the corner of Third Street and Maple Avenue began in 1907. The church was dedicated on January 31, 1909. An Aspinwall carpenter, a charter parish member, built the first altar. In 1912 the rectory was built, and it remains the oldest building on the property.
Fr. Michael Boyle, St. Scholastica’s third pastor, bought the remaining lots in the square bounded by Third and Fourth Streets and Maple and Brilliant Avenues. In the early 1920s, Fr. Boyle and the parish investigated building a new Gothic church on the property. Bishop Hugh Boyle, a steadfast proponent of Catholic education, insisted that a school be built first. Edward J. Weber, architect of Central Catholic High School and Synod Hall in Oakland, designed a school that incorporated the small original church. Weber also designed a convent , which still stands as the parish Ministry Center.
The school, which was staffed by Sisters of St. Francis from Mount Alvernia, opened in September of 1925. There were 159 students and the first eighth grade class was graduated in 1928. The school became a center of parish life for decades.
By the time Fr. Francis Clifford became pastor in 1944, St. Scholastica Parish had grown to more than 450 families. It had watched its own mission church in Blawnox become St. Edward Parish in 1938. Enrollment grew in the school in the years following World War II, and it became clear that the space occupied by the original church was needed for classrooms. It was time to build a new church.
Fr. Clifford and his Building Committee chose architect Alfred Reid to direct the project, and requested "an economical church, which could be built quickly, modern in design." The cornerstone for the new church was laid in October, 1949, and the new Saint Scholastica Church, built at a cost of $230,000, was dedicated on June 25, 1950. Janet de Coux carved the walnut crucifix and the statues of Mary and St. Joseph in the sanctuary. Eliza Miller carved the slate Stations of the Cross in a similar modern style. Stained glass windows replaced the original clear glass windows in the 1970s.
The parish continued to grow. Fr. William Savage oversaw the building of a new elementary school on the south side of Third Avenue, dedicated by Bishop John Wright in 1959. Monsignor Ralph Hayes guided the parish through the reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council. His successor, Monsignor Donald Kraus, was known especially for his dry wit and outstanding homilies. During his time as pastor, in 1985, a new school and gymnasium building replaced the original church and school.
Fr. Robert Duch became St. Scholastica’s twelfth pastor in 1994, fresh from leading a reorganization of the parishes in the Diocese. He quickly undertook a renovation of the church’s interior and improvement of the grounds in 1995, and sponsored various efforts to encourage parish ministry and spiritual renewal. Saint Scholastica Parish School became a regional Catholic school in 1997 through the added support of the Catholic parishes in Blawnox, O'Hara Township and Sharpsburg. At that time, it was renamed Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy.
In 2001, a new Pastoral Center was built between the church and the 1985 school building. It now includes the parish office, a small kitchen and a multi-purpose room that can be used for both large and small gatherings. By 2005, the Church had grown to over 1,350 families.
The parish celebrated our Centennial throughout the year leading up to the 100th anniversary in 2007. The opening mass took place on April 30, 2006. The year-long celebration included masses, concerts, a large parish picnic and a dinner dance. Banners decorated the streets around the church and a tapestry commemorating the centennial was displayed in the church. At the closing mass on April 22, 2007, items were placed in a time capsule stored behind the statue of Saint Joseph.
Fr. Duch retired in June 2008. Fr. Kenneth White succeeded him in July after twenty successful years as pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Bethel Park. Fr. Ken undertook needed repairs to various parish buildings as part of a long-term maintenance plan. He also led the parish pastoral council into a new role as an envisioning body which will help the parish continue to thrive as we enter a new era of cooperation with other parishes in our regional vicariate. When asked about the essentials of parish life, Fr. Ken cited four pillars: proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Christ, forming community, celebrating Christ’s presence among us through the sacraments, and accepting our mission to bring others to the Lord. He retired in April 2014.
Fr. James Torquato became our fourteenth pastor on May 4, 2014. Fr. Jim came to us from St. Basil Parish in Carrick. He has made a number of improvements around the parish grounds and arranged for more thorough cleaning of the church, pastoral center, and school. He encourages all to participate in our Sunday liturgy and to invite others to join us as well!
This brief history of Saint Scholastica Church is in no way complete. It cannot detail the sacrifice and cooperation of parish members, priests, religious sisters, lay teachers, staff, and lay ministers who have made this parish the center for spiritual and community life for thousands of families for over a century. As we look to the future, we can ask for God’s grace to help us to embody together the words of the prophet Micah: "Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly before your God."
› History Book: Do you want to know more about our parish’s past?
Read A History of Saint Scholastica Parish, published in connection with the Centennial celebration. You can learn which priest played third base in full cassock, who "Jip" was, and what it was like to grow up in St. Scholastica Parish in the ‘30s and ‘40s. You will also learn about how the life of our parish reflected the evolving place of the Catholic Church in American life.
A History of Saint Scholastica Parish Book:
· 96 Pages
· Black & White and Color Photos
Copies are on sale for $5 each* at the parish office.
*Note: We have a limited amount of copies available and there are no plans to publish any more.
A slideshow history of the parish was shown at the Centennial Dinner Dance on February 10, 2007: View Slideshow »
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