3040 Pioneer Avenue, Pittsburgh,
PA 15226 * Phone 412-563-5423
<St. Pius X Church Website>
Parish History The Pastors The Sisters
The Formation of a New Parish
The story of St. Pius X Roman Catholic
Church began in the the early 1950s. By 1951, school enrollment at the Church of the
Resurrection on Creedmoor
Avenue had reached 1,171, and the parish had grown by over 1,000 families since
the dedication of their new church in 1939. By September 1953, Resurrection
enrollment was 1,346 and the parish census listed 2,842 families.
It was at this point that Bishop John
Dearden set about to establish a new parish. The formal decree, for the erection
of the third offspring parish from Resurrection, was issued on June 9, 1954. The
new parish was dedicated as St. Pius X. Several families from Resurrection Parish
in Brookline were to be merged with families from St. Bernard Parish in Mount
Lebanon and St. Catherine of Sienna in Beechview to form the new
From St. Bernard, the parish inherited
approximately 430 families. Another 100 families came from St. Catherine, and
from Resurrection came an additional 260 families.
The parish name was in honor of the
cannonization of Pope Saint Pius X, on May 29, 1954. The parish location was
secured with the acquisition of the Lydia Fleming property at 3020 Pioneer
Avenue. On the three and a half acre plot there was to be erected a combination
church and school.
Patron - Pope Saint Pius X
"To defend the Catholic faith and make
all things new in Christ" was the task St. Pius X set for himself. His motto
"To renew all things in Christ" was the guiding principle of his reign as Pope,
as noted in the Opening Prayer of the Mass dedicated to him.
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was (1835-1914)
was born to poor parents. He entered the seminary at the age of fifteen and was
ordained in 1858 at age 23. For seventeen years he was a parish priest, then
Chancellor of his Diocese. Appointed Bishop of Mantua in 1884, he endeared
himself to his people by his gentleness and warmth as he went about renewing his
Diocese. Then years later he was named Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice,
and in 1903 was chosen to be Pope.
His was a time that called for strength
in leadership in the Church and this humble saint was equal to the challenge.
The Opening Prayer of the Mass celebrating his feast recognizes that he was
filled with "heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage." He met the needs of the
Church and the needs of society. Primarily he turned to the spiritual needs
of the Church and is remembered as the pope who encouraged frequent reception
of Holy Communion, especially by children, and he urged that they receive this
wonderful sacrament as early as possible.
Of great interest to us today is the
personal initiative that he took and encouraged in liturgical matters. He
initiated reforms of liturgical books, a revision of the text of psalms, and
he encouraged active participation of the laity in the celebration of the Mass.
It is known that he was convinced of the value of the vernacular in liturgy,
but thought the time was not yet right for its use. Much of what he envisioned
and encouraged is a reality for us today.
In the internal affairs of the Church
he gave impetus to the codification of Church law. He took a strong stand against
interference in the internal affairs of the Church by governments, especially
France. He was concerned for the correct teaching of Catholic doctrine and the
strong catechetical formation of youth. He encouraged the serious and critical
study of the Scriptures.
The years of the pontificate of Pope St.
Pius X were difficult, but he untiringly gave of himself "in the spirit of
simplicity, poverty and courage, arousing the faithful to a Christian way of
life...." He was a gentle and sensitive shepherd after the model of Jesus the
Good Shepherd. An historian wrote of him: "he was a man of God who knew the
unhappiness of the world and the hardships of life, and in the greatness of
his heart wanted to comfort everyone."
The Early Days
Father Patrick Cullen, the parish's first
pastor, took possession at 2:30pm on June 10, 1954. The Sisters of Charity, from
nearby DePaul Institute, planted a medal of the new parish's Patron Saint on the
newly acquired grounds.
The first Mass was celebrated on
June 13, 1954.
Several Sisters of Charity worked late
preparing a temporary church at DePaul Institute for the parish's first Mass,
which was celebrated on June 13, 1954, in Our Lady of Victory Hall. Everything
except the Priest and the Missal was borrowed. The plywood altar came from St.
Peter and Paul in Beaver; the tabernacle and sanctuary light from Toner Institute;
linens from Resurrection; ciboria from St. Bernard; candles, candlesticks, Missal
stand, lectern, cruets and Communion wine from DePaul Institute. The Communion
rail was made by Mr. Jamison, head of the DePaul woodworking department. There
were no pews or cushioned kneelers, just folding chairs and a hard, bare gymnasium
The first baptisms in the parish occurred
on Sunday, June 20, 1954. Richard B. Martin, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard C.
Martin, and Patricia Louise, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Rago Jr., were
The former Fleming estate was transformed
into a parish house and chapel, with the first daily Mass held on August 20,
1954. In December of that year, men of the parish constructed an outdoor crib
and placed it on the grounds facing Pioneer Avenue. During that first year, the
parish witnessed sixteen weddings, the first being the marriage of George Leo
Harbin and Helen Catherine Noceti.
Church and School Construction Begins
In January of 1955, plans were made for
a Building Fund drive, with a $100,000 goal set for the end of the year. Ground
was broken on February 13, 1955 for the new church and school. A second general
meeting was held in March to make plans for a fundraising Summer
Church construction nears construction
nears completion in 1955.
On Easter Sunday, 1955, it was announced
that St. Pius X School would be accepting registrations for the 1955/1956 school year,
grades one through four. In June, Reverend Jerome F. Logue was ordained, becoming
the first member of St. Pius X Parish to enter the priesthood.
The Summer Festival, the first
annual St. Pius X Expo, was
held in July 1955, and despite threatening weather was the most successful
fundraising venture the parish had held to date. The school building
was nearing completion and the
congregation's spirits soared.
Father Patrick Cullen in 1956.
Shortly after the Summer Festival, it was
announced that the Benedictine Sisters were to staff the new school. Later in July,
parishioners were told that grades one to four would be open in September. A fifth
grade would be added the following year, the sixth the year after, and so on, until
eight grades were established. The initial staff of Benedictine Sisters were
Sister Edith Collins, Principal, Sister Mary Damian, Sister Mary Anthony and
Sister Virginia. To house the Sisters, the parish house was converted into a
Laying of the
cornerstone - August 1955.
On August 21, 1955, the cornerstone of
the Church and School were laid with the appropriate dedications and ceremony.
On August 31, the new rectory was completed at 3059 Pioneer Avenue. On September
7, the school opened for the first time to the first through fourth graders,
and on December 3, Bishop Dearden dedicated the new Church. By the end of 1955,
the congregation had grown to over 430 families.
Forty Years to Grow Strong Roots
Father Cullen oversaw the parish until
an illness forced him to retire in March of 1968. During his fourteen years as
spiritual leader of St. Pius X, the congregation continued to see steady growth.
Once again, overcrowding became an issue for the diocese. The parish
Lady of Loreto opened in
1961, made up of families from St. Pius X and Resurrection. And finally, on
March 25, 1965, a new convent was dedicated at 2681 Waddington Avenue to house
the growing number of Benedictine Sisters teaching at the school.
Father Patrick Cullen and
Cardinal John Wright.
Father Cullen celebrated his final Mass
on March 17, 1968. Father Thomas McCarthy was named the church's second Pastor
shortly afterwards, but served only three months before reassignment.
On June 10, 1968, Father Thomas M. Marpes
was installed as the parish's third pastor, and began a thirty-four year tenure
as spiritual leader of St. Pius X congregation.
During Father Marpes' first year with
the parish, work began on renovations to transform the temporary sanctuary
into a permanent church. Work also began on renovating and repairing the school
building. On December 10, 1971, Cullen Hall was dedicated in honor of Father Patrick
Cullen. In January of 1973, the former convent was rededicated as the St. Pius X
Home, which is part of the UPMC Mercy Health System. Finally, on August 18, 1974,
the new Church Bell Tower was dedicated.
Father Marpes promotes the 1974 St. Pius X
February of 1977 saw the opening of
a School Chapel for Daily Eucharist, and in May of that same year the
congregation met a major milestone in the life of the parish. On May 8, 1977,
Bishop Vincent Leonard and Father Marpes had the honor of burning the
original mortgage papers, with the appropriate ceremonies, of course.
Also in May, the Shrine to the Mother of God was dedicated. To end the
decade of the 1970s, the parish celebrated its 25th Anniversary on
June 10, 1979.
Groundbreaking for the activities building
was held on June 24, 1983.
The 1980s saw more changes to the
church and the parish grounds. In the church, the new altar mosaic background
featuring faceted color glass and the hanging crucifix was installed on April
17, 1983. Outside on the school property, ground was broken for the construction
of a new Activities Center on June 24, 1983. The blessing and dedication
of the new addition occurred on March 11, 1984. The building is now named
"Marpes Pavilion" in honor of Father Thomas M. Marpes.
The 1980-1981 St. Pius Saints
Varsity basketball team.
<See Some Photos of St. Pius X
On May 4, 1986, a new tabernacle with
the Last Supper Relief was dedicated, along with the intertwining rings. The
following year, on October 25, 1987, the monument with the name of the church,
school and pavilion, along Pioneer Avenue, was dedicated. Finally, on August 7,
1988, the Relief of the Holy Spirit and the Relief of St. Pius X were added to
the church facade.
On November 11, 1990, the crucifix
from Toner Institute, which stands next to the rectory, facing Pioneer Avenue,
was dedicated as an outdoor shrine. It has become a frequent devotional stop
for many in the neighborhood.
On a low note, between late February
28 and March 1, 1995, vandals did an estimated $20,000 in damage to church
and school property. Damage included graffiti scrawled inside and outside
the church, pew upholstery was ripped and an oriental carpet at the altar
was destroyed. The damage was repaired and prayers were offered for those
who committed the crime.
St. Pius X and Brookline Regional Catholic School
The year 1996 was a time of change for
St. Pius School. The diocese was facing increasing financial hardships supporting
three school buildings in the same neighborhood. In a move to ease this
burden, Resurrection School was closed permanently, Our Lady of Loreto School
was reduced to grades K-3 only, and grades four through eight were held at St.
Pius. This new configuration was part of a new school system that was named
Brookline Regional Catholic. In 2004, Our Lady of Loreto School closed
permanently and Brookline Regional Catholic School classes, including all grades
kindergarten through eighth, were held exclusively at the St. Pius
The 2002 Brookline Regional Catholic
<See Some Photos of Brookline Regional
Catholic Athletic Teams>
On June 11, 2000, Father Marpes, now
in his 32nd year with the parish, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his
ordination. Father Marpes was one of the longest serving pastors ever in
the Brookline area and had become like a father to several generations
of Brookliners. His golden anniversary was a time for the entire community
The last changes to occur during the
tenure of Father Marpes were the donation of the Book of Gospels and the
addition of the ambry where the Holy Oils are stored, on April 8, 2001, and
the dedication of the Holy Family Statue on February 14, 2002.
The Lord is My Sheppard ...
On August 15, 2002, Father Thomas M. Marpes,
thirty-four year pastor of St. Pius X and a man revered among the congregation, the
Community of Brookline and the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, passed away after
a long battle with cancer. The humble servant joined his Father in heaven, and
generations of his friends and neighbors mourned his passing.
Father Thomas M. Marpes was the pastor of
St. Pius X parish from 1968 through 2002.
Long-time school principal Sister Mary Ann Karas (1974-1992) holds the
We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe
On September 21, 2002, Father Robert
J. Miller was installed as the fourth pastor in the forty-eight year history
of St. Pius X parish. Then, in November of the same year, Fran Markey, the
long-time church secretary, retired. Fran had served as secretary for all four
of the church's pastors.
The year 2004 marked a major milestone
for the parish and school. On January 3, 2004, Bishop Donald Wuerl celebrated
Mass on the Feast of the Ephiphany, opening a year-long celebration of the 50th
Anniversary of St. Pius X Parish. A year later, in January 2005, Father Miller
was assigned as dual-pastor of both St. Pius X and Our Lady of Loreto parishes,
both part of the Brookline Regional Catholic charter.
During Father Miller's pastorship, he
worked tirelessly throughout the community of Brookline and led the congregation
of St. Pius X parish during difficult and trying times. Under his guidance the
parish remained strong and the congregation benefited from his patience and
wisdom. Beloved by parishioners at both St. Pius and Our Lady of Loreto, Father
Miller's ten year pastorship ended in November 2011, when he was reassigned
to St. Peter and Paul in Beaver.
Father Gary Krummert hailed from
Kennedy Township and was a graduate of Montour High School. He was ordained
into the priesthood on June 22, 2002. As Parochial Vicar, he served
at St. Ferdinand in Cranberry (2002-2005) and at St. Joseph and Most
Blessed Sacrament in Natrona Heights (2005-2007). For the next four years
Father Gary served as Pastor of Ave Maria in Bentleyville.
In December, 2011, Father Gary
Krummert was assigned as pastor of St. Pius X, assuming the dual
pastorship role with Our Lady of Loreto. The church's Fifth Pastorate
lasted a brief year. In December of 2012 Father Gary went on a sabatical
and the pastorship passed to another priest with local ties, Reverend James
James Bachner - The Sixth Pastor
Already the pastor of Saint Catherine
of Sienna Church in Beechview, Reverend Bachner was called upon to assume the
dual-role as leader of St. Pius and Our Lady of Loreto. Already quite popular
with his congregation in Beechview, Reverend Bachner has brought his youthful
exhuberance and leadership qualities to the families of St. Pius in
Reverend Bachner officially took on his
new assignment as the sixth paster of St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church during
a Mass in April 2013 celebrated with Bishop David Zubik. He is currently the
Pastor of three distinct churches, all within close proximity to each
The congregations of Saint Catherine of
Sienna, and now St. Pius X and Our Lady of Loreto, here in Brookline, are
fortunate to have such a fine man leading the way through these difficult and
challenging times. Reverend Bachner is prepared to guide the parish through
the second decade of the 21st Century and beyond.
St. Pius X Roll Call of Pastors
Reverend James Bachner
Father Gary Krummert
Father Robert J. Miller
Rev. Thomas M. Marpes
Rev. Patrick R. Cullen
Rev. Thomas McCarthy
Priests Who Served as Parochial Vicars
Father James Cullen (1956-1960)
Father Stephen Chervenak (1960-1965)
Father C. William Hausen (1965-1969)
Father Russell Maurer (1969-1974)
Father Bernard Shulik (1974-1977)
Father Vincent Marino (1977)
Father Daniel DiNardo (1977-1980)
Father Edward Kryston (1980-1984)
Father David Kriss (1984-1991)
Father Kenneth Lovasik (1991-1993)
Father Robert M. Miller (1993-1994)
Father George Palick (1994-1995)
Note: On October 17, 2007, the
Holy See announced that former St. Pius X Parochial Vicar Father Daniel DiNardo
and twenty-three other clergymen would be elevated to the College of Cardinals
by Pope Benedict XVI. He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Eusebio in the
consistory of November 24, 2007 at St. Peter's Basilica. In 2008 he was awarded
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo will be eligible to participate in any future papal conclave until
he reaches the age of 80 on May 23, 2029. At the time of his elevation, he
was the youngest of the American Cardinals.
Priests Who Served In Residence
Father John Geinzer
Father Magnus Rau
Father Noriel Priela
Father Matthew Chukwulobe
Father Raymond Tamale
Father Robert Muhiirwa
Father Richard Lelonis
Father Michael Mukasa
Father Camillus Ugwa
Father Everistus Mushi
Priest Vocations From St. Pius X Parish
Father Jerome Logue (June 1955)
Father James Graham (May 1966)
Father Robert Craig (October 1967)
Father Charles Coury (1976)
Father David Pusateri (September 1979)
Father Francis Grinko (May 1981)
The Principals of St. Pius X Elementary School
Sister Mary Damian Thaner (1955-1960)
Sister Mary Ellen Sullivan (1960-1961)
Sister Mary Damian Thaner (1961-1963)
Sister Regis Walter (1963-1967)
Sister Mary Anthony Wild (1967-1973)
John Bobinski (1973-1974)
Sister Mary Ann Karas, RSM (1974-1992)
Maryann Knoll (1992-1996)
Note: Sister Mary Damian
Thaner, OSB, the first principal of St. Pius X, is the oldest member of the
Benedictine Community. She celebratee her 75th Anniversary as a Benedictine
Sister on June 16, 2012.
who taught at St. Pius X Elementary School
Sister Charlotte Abel
Sister Miriam Ausec
Sister Janet Barnicle
Sister Bernice Bartholomai
Sister Marie Breinig
Sister Sharon Brink
Sister Julia Brink
Sister Magdalen Budicky
Sister Mary Jane Burkhart
Sister Susanne Chenot
Sister Edith Collins
Sister Benita DeMatteis
Sister Cecilia Evans
Sister Lois Ford
Sister Marilyn Fox
Sister Raphael Frank
Sister Noreen Gallagher
Sister Gabriella Goncar
Sister Constance Hartung
Sister Columba Heyl
Sister Margaret Mary Jones
Sister Mary Robert King
Sister Anna Marie Kunzler
Sister Leona Lacsny
Sister Anne Lazar
Sister Jonathan Luther
Sister Colette Malinoski
Sister Clementine Matiba
Sister Mary Ruth Miller
Sister Corinne Moeller
Sister Irene Moeller
Sister Beatrice Munk
Sister Catherine Murphy
Sister Valeria Osterreider
Sister Wilfrid Palladino
Sister Camilla Puvogel
Sister Virginia Reckley
Sister Bridget Reilly
Sister Henrietta Reinersmann
Sister Aquina Ritzel
Sister Alice Rock
Sister Ludmilla Rojik
Sister Laverne Rush
Sister Matilda Schoenecker
Sister Georgine Schweers
Sister Celine Sheeler
Sister Monica Silan
Sister Lorraine Simmons
Sister Lucille Snyder
Sister Rosalyn Soller
Sister (Marian) Mary Catherine Stana
Sister Mary Ellen Sullivan
Sister Mary Damian Thaner
Sister Mary Bernard Ubinger
Sister Maura Ubinger
Sister Marie Vigna
Sister Regis Walter
Sister Norma Weigand
Sister Mary Anthony Wild
Sister Ursula Wilzoch
Sister Donna Wojtyna
* Thanks to Sister
Judith Ann Criner, OSB, for providing the list of the Benedictine Faculty *
The Principals of Brookline Regional Catholic School
Maryann Knoll (1996-1998)
Janet Salley-Rakoczy (1998-present)
Thanks also to Sharyn
Ott for providing a copy of the 50th Anniversary booklet.
Much of this information was retrieved from that publication.