Our Lady of Loreto Church and School History
(May 27, 1959 - August 30, 2020)

Our Lady of Loreto Roman Catholic Church

1905 Pioneer Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15226

♦ Formation of the Parish
♦ Title and Patroness
♦ Father Arthur L. Garbin
♦ Early Years at Elizabeth Seton
♦ Church/School Construction
♦ Selection of Sisters
♦ Dedication Day
♦ A Permanent Church
♦ Loreto Community Grows
♦ 25th Anniversary
♦ Winds of Change
♦ Brookline Regional Catholic
♦ 50th Anniversary

The Tenth Pastor ♦
St. John Bosco Academy ♦
Brookline-Beechview Catholic ♦
St. Teresa of Kolkata ♦
Mass of Farewell ♦
Loreto Church Pastors ♦
Priests/Deacons/Seminarians ♦
Sons/Daughters of the Parish ♦
Loreto School Principals ♦
Loreto School Nuns ♦
BRC/Bosco School Principals ♦
Loreto Photo Gallery ♦
Patron Saint of Aviators ♦

* Click on images for larger pictures *

Our Lady of Loreto Church - 2004

St. Teresa of Kolkata Church Website: http://www.stteresakolkatapgh.org

   St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish Facebook Page   

The Formation of a New Parish

After many years of petition and prayers, Our Lady of Loreto Parish was established by Bishop John J. Wright. Prior to and at the time of the redevelopment of the Lower Hill District of the city, the Brookline area experienced an influx of new people forced to leave their homes which were razed to make way for the Civic Arena and Chatham Center.

The people petitioned the Bishop to establish a new parish for them because of the distance to Resurrection Church and the overwhelming size of the Mother Parish. Hence, a new parish was established on May 27, 1959, during the reign of His Holiness, Pope John XXIII. The new Parish was the fourth and final offspring of Resurrection Church, the other three being St. Norbert's parish, St. Bernard's parish and St. Pius X parish.

His Excellency, Most Reverend John J. Wright - 1961
Most Reverend John J. Wright

Our Lady of Loreto was the first parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh to be established by His Excellency, Most Reverend John J. Wright. The title and patroness of the parish were the Bishop's personal choice. Loreto, a town on the Adriatic Coast of Italy, is the site of a magnificent Shrine to Our Lady. Over a million pilgrims, including many sick and handicapped, visit the shrine every year.

The Title and The Patroness of the Parish

The title "Our Lady of Loreto" is derived from the Holy House of Loreto, located in a small town on the eastern coast of Italy. Loreto is the site of what, until the rise of Lourdes, was the most famous Marian shrine in the world outside of Palestine.

The Holy House, according to a centuries old tradition, is believed to be either the original house or a replica of the house where Our Lady was born, where the Angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the Mother of God, and in which Christ was conceived of Mary and spent His early childhood.

The tradition relates that in May, 1291, the house was transported by angels from its original site in Nazareth to Tersato, near Fiume, in Dalmatia: in 1294 it was again removed by angels and carried across the Adriatic Sea to Italy, and eventually came to rest at Loreto.

The Holy House, which now stands within a vast domed basilica called the Santuario di Loreto, is a rectangular structure of rough stone and brick, measuring about 30 feet by 13 feet inside. The exterior walls have been encased in white marble beautifully carved into ornate figures and designs. Inside, an altar stands at one end beneath the statue of Our Lady of Loreto. The statue represents Our Lady holding the Christ-child, both dark-skinned and both swathed in a stiff formal robe richly ornamented.

Historical criticism of recent times has indicated that the Holy House of Loreto may be only a replica of the original house of Our Lady at Nazareth. The tradition of the removal of the house from Nazareth to Loreto by angels is not a matter of faith.

Nonetheless, Our Lady's shrine at Loreto is, like Lourdes, a centuries-old place of great pilgrimage and of cures and miracles of grace. Our Lady has shown particular favor to her shrine at Loreto and Almighty God has enriched it with His extraordinary graces and miracluous cures granted through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. Over a million persons visit the shrine each year.

Father Arthur L. Garbin - The First Pastor

Reverend Arthur L. Garbin was named first pastor of Our Lady of Loreto. Msgr. Carl P. Hensler, S.T.D., Dean of this area, conducted the first ceremony of installation of Father Garbin. Prior to this assignment, Father Garbin had been Director of Saint Anthony School for the mentally retarded in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

Father Garbin was responsible, through his warmth and friendliness, for the family spirit of Loreto which is still evident in the parish. Because of his concern for education, the school was the number one priority.

Father Arthur L. Garbin - 1959
Father Arthur L. Garbin, Loreto's first Pastor, in 1959.

Stemming from the belief that each child should learn at his or her own pace, a non-graded system of education was introduced, which has proven successful in every facet of teaching. Our Lady of Loreto School opened its doors to serve as a pilot program for this type of education on the elementary level.

Over the years, Loreto evolved into one of the finest academic and athletic programs in the diocese, perhaps even in the state. Whether below average, average, or above average, each child received equal attention and was placed in a group commensurate with his or her individual abilites.

The First Mass - May 31, 1959
The first Mass was celebrated on May 31, 1959.

The Early Years At Elizabeth Seton High School

Prior to the erection of the church-school building, the Sisters of Charity of Elizabeth Seton High School graciously made available the auditorium and facilities of their school for church purposes and for religion classes and meetings. Sunday masses were offered for the first time on May 31, 1959, the feast of the Queenship of Mary.

The following Sunday, the assistance of Reverend Marcellus Fuller, O.F.M. Capuchin, Superintendent of Toner Institute, Brookline, enabled the parish to schedule four masses every Sunday in the auditorium. Marriages were celebrated in the school chapel or at Resurrection Church. Funerals were conducted at Resurrection.

A Ladies Guild, an Ushers Club and an Altar Boy Society were organized within a month. The Guild assumed responsibilty for converting the auditorium for church services each weekend. In the following months the house at 1901 Pioneer Avenue was purchased for a rectory.

The Guild sponsored a "Shower for the Parish House." Due to the prayers and sacrifices of the parishioners, the rectory was paid off less than a year after the purchase.

In August, 1959, Bishop Wright authorized the parish to engage an architect to prepare plans for a church-school building. At the time, the parish had 335 children enrolled at Resurrection school and 100 public school pupils attending religion classes conducted at Elizabeth Seton by the Sisters of Charity.

Baptism at Our Lady of Loreto - 1960
A baptism at Our Lady of Loreto in 1960.

A 1960 year-end report indicated there were 800 families, including over 600 school age children, in the parish. There had been 48 baptisms and eight marriages.

The first choir, consisting of men only, was started in September of 1959, Walter Kenna was choir director and Mrs. James Sands was the organist.

Also in September, plans were made to begin training men and women of the parish to serve as helpers and teachers for religion classes; hence the CCD program began. The CCD is a parish society in which the laity, under the guidance of the clergy, play leading roles in learning, living and teaching Christian Doctrine. The original classes had enrolled 100 grade school children.

On March 16, 1960, Bishop John J. Wright administered the sacrament of Confirmation to 66 children and three adults in the temporary church. These confirmandi were the first to be confirmed from the parish. May 13, 1961 marked the "First" First Communion, with a class consisting of 65 children. Plans were made to make it a memorable one, despite the temporary church set-up in Elizabeth Seton's auditorium.

Church and School Construction Begins

Preliminary plans for the building received approval from the Diocesan Building Commission in June of 1960. The architects, Casimir J. Pelligrini Associates of Pittsburgh, were authorized to proceed with the working plans.

Unfortunately, test borings conducted on the site revealed some serious problems. The site was not solid ground but a tremendous mass of fill, dumped there over the years. There were signs of shifting of the fill in addition to drainage and grading problems.

Another major problem discovered was the necessity of running the site's sanitary and storm sewers through the woodland to Timberland Avenue, near Route 51. The sewer lines at Pioneer Avenue were higher than the grade levels at the construction site.

The delays continued until the spring of 1961, during which solutions to the problems were finally decided. As a result, groundbreaking ceremonies had to be postponed.

Groundbreaking for Our
Lady of Loreto - May 1961
The goundbreaking for Our Lady of Loreto church/school was in May 1961.

Groundbreaking for the school and temporary church took place on Trinity Sunday, May 28, 1961. Reverend Oliver D. Keefer, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, Father Arthur Garbin, and representatives of all church committees participated in the traditional ceremonies.

Some two hundred jubilant members of the parish attended the groundbreaking on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Excavation and construction began the following day.

Laying of the cornerstone at
Our Lady of Loreto - 9/24/1961
The laying of the cornerstone on September 24, 1961.

With the new building nearing completion, the blessing and the laying of the cornerstone took place on September 24, 1961. Monsignor Carl P. Hensler, Dean, and Monsignor Jacob C. Shinar, along with Father Arthur Garbin, conducted the ceremonies.

This was surely a historical event, marking the erection of the first building in the parish. All parish families were asked to send a medal or a family memento to be sealed in the cornerstone.

The Church/School building
 nearing completion - July 1962
The new building nearing completion in July 1962.

Selection of Sisters for the New School

On March 27, 1962, Bishop John J. Wright announced his selection of Sisters for the new school: the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who were founded by Mother Clelia Merloni, whose cause for beatification had already begun. The congregation numbers two thousand worldwide, with 256 in this country.

The Lay Teachers at Loreto in 1962   The original Sisters at Loreto in 1962
The original teachers at Our Lady of Loreto School in 1962.

Their ministry in the United States includes teaching, parish ministry, special education and nursing. Worldwide they engage in social work as well as the administration of hospitals and orphanages. They serve in Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Brazil and Argentina.

A classroom at Loreto school - 1962
A classroom at Our Lady of Loreto school in 1962.

In Pennsylvania, the Sisters staffed schools in Pittsburgh, Butler, New Castle and Connellsville, as well as St. Anthony's School for Exceptional Children in Oakmont and a similar school, "Clelian Heights," in Greensburg. Prior to his election to the Papacy, Pope John XXIII was the Cardinal Protector of this order.

At Loreto, the first Sisters to serve were Sister M. Estelle, Principal and Superior, Sister M. Irene and Sister M. Francine. The Sisters were assisted by two lay instructors, Mrs. Walter Padlo and Mrs. John Kinevy.

Students celebrate Loreto's opening - 1962
Carolyn Szolis and Marion Maier outside the new school. Pittsburgh Press photo from August 26, 1962.

Dedication Day

Dedication Day of Our Lady of Loreto church-school building finally arrived. On August 22, 1962, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the ceremonies were held. The celebrant and homilist was the Most Reverend John J. Wright. Attendance had to be restricted due to the limited facilities.

The Statue of Our Lady of Loreto, which had just arrived from Italy two hours before the ceremony, stood in the lobby and welcomed all. It was a glorious and joyous day. The entire cost of the new building was $541,650, of which the parish assumed a debt of $400,000.

From this day to the renovation of the present church the Sunday masses were held in the gym. The daily masses, weddings and funerals were held in the Chapel, which is presently the social hall.

Sunday Mass was held in the gym - 1962
Sunday Mass was held in the gymnasium in the absence of a permanent Sanctuary.

A Permanent Church

In the hope of terminating the temporary church facilities, plans for a permanent church were initiated by the pastor and church committee in early 1966. Many proposals were considered, pending improvement of the financial status of the parish.

As time went on, the financial capabilities of the parish grew steadily. But before plans could start, in March 1968 Father Garbin was reassigned by Bishop Wright to Saint Michael's in Butler, Pennsylvania.

The new pastor assigned to Our Lady of Loreto was Father Raymond A. Cercone, who came from Saint Lawrence in Hillsvale, Pennsylvania, where he had built a church and rectory. He had also spearheaded the building fund campaign for Saint Catherine's in Beechivew where he had been an assistant.

After several months, Father Cercone started the improvements on the church grounds. The roadway from the rectory and convent was undertaken. A Debt Reduction Campaign was started in May of 1968. The first Sunday of every month was Debt Reduction Sunday. His dream was to have a new church.

1962 - The temporary sanctuary in the
Chapel, now the Social Hall
The temporary sanctuary, located in the Chapel (now the Social Hall) in 1962.

In October, 1968, the parish committee obtained the services of the architectural firm of Belli and Belli to plan converting the multi-purpose hall into a permanent church. In March, 1969, a new building fund program was initiated.

J.J. McGaffin, who had built the church-school building, was again contracted to convert the multi-purpose hall into a permanent church. Again, parishioners attended Sunday masses at Elizabeth Seton from May to August 3, 1969, when mass was again held at Our Lady of Loreto. When completed, the new $80,000 house of worship was carpeted wall-to-wall and had a seating capacity of 500.

The new Sanctuary - October 1969
The permanent Our Lady of Loreto Sanctuary, dedicated on October 25, 1969.

In May of 1969, Cardinal Wright departed for Rome to his new assignment. Bishop Vincent Leonard, who was installed as the ninth bishop of Pittsburgh, dedicated the new church on October 25, 1969. The mass of dedication was followed by a dinner and dance at Webster Hall.

The Loreto Community Continues To Grow

In September, 1972, Father Cercone was reassigned and a new spiritual director, Monsignor James Shanahan was assigned to the church. A priest dedicated to the spiritual uplifting of his people, Monsignor Shanahan mingled with the children and parishioners and quickly became a father and friend to all. His homilies were inspiring and hard to forget, yet all felt comfortable in his presence as if he were "one of the boys."

Monsignor Shanahan, along with a group of totally committed parishioners, started a bingo, which provided great support for the Church in reducing the debt. Unfortunately for the parishioners and the church, Father Shanahan passed away suddenly on November 15, 1978.

Monsignor James Shanahan
Monsignor James Shanahan.

Father Thomas O'Neill, the assistant pastor, took over all the duties of the parish and kept the congregation going during that period of great loss. On June 18, 1979, Father O'Neill was assigned to St. Luke's parish in Carnegie.

In September of 1977, Our Lady of Loreto acquired a parish social service co-ordinator, Brother Ted Smith, a Christian Brother. A learned man who spoke several languages, Brother Ted spent many hours visiting the sick, comforting those in need and sometimes entertaining them with his pantomimes.

On December 17, 1978, the parish received a new pastor, Father Joseph Grosko, formerly a Navy Chaplain and a native of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Father Grosko, who had a special love for the older parishioners, quickly set up the Loreto Pioneers.

This was an organization dedicated to the advancement of the spiritual and social needs of the senior citizens of the parish. Their first meeting was held on October 4, 1979. Father Grosko also founded a weekly "Dialogue and Donuts" gathering, the very first "Family Day" celebration and the first carnival, which was held on July 20, 1981.

The First Carnival - 1981   Loreto Carnival - 1983
Our Lady of Loreto Carnival in 1981 (left) and in 1983. The carnivals were a great fundraising success.

Due to the committment and hard work of the carnival committees and all the parishioners involved, the yearly endeavor succeeded in building a parish community beyond compare. The original parish council was inaugurated under the guidance of Father Grosko. Also, the church grounds were enhanced with many beautiful trees and shrubs.

Father Grosko, who always had a strong desire to serve in the missions, left the parish on August 24, 1981, for an assignment in the Phillippines. Even though his stay was short, he touched the congregation in a very special way.

Bishop Vincent Leonard assigned Reverend Charles J. Chatt as the next pastor of Our Lady of Loreto on August 24, 1981. Father Chatt was experienced in the pastoral duties of the diocese and familiar to the responsibilities of Catholic Education.

The 25th Anniversary Celebration and Dedications

Father Chatt brought in the first In-Parish Weekend Retreats and undertook the task of renovating the church for the 25th Anniversary Celebration.

On May 25, 1984, a new, handcarved crucifix, pulpit and altar, donated in memory of Monsignor James Shanahan, were installed. On Sunday, May 27, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the parish, the new altar, which represents Christ with the family of Loreto gathered around Him, and the new lecturn were dedicated.

The new pulpit in May 1984

The beautiful liturgy was followed with a reunion in the Social Hall, which was attended by many members of Monsignor Shanahan's family, former parishioners and present members of Our Lady of Loreto.

The new hand-carved altar.   The Choir rejoices with song

The Winds of Change

In September of 1989, the priests of our diocese joined Bishop Wuerl in an Orientation Day for our Diocesan Reorganization Process, which faced critical issues of population decline in our six county diocesan area and limited numbers of clergy and religious in our diocese.

From January through May of 1990, Our Lady of Loreto Parish participated, as did all parishes, in having a Parish Task Force, Town Hall Meetings and completing of the Parish In-depth Self-Study forms to determine the future directions of our parish and diocese.

Father Chatt participated until his reassignment in 1992, and then Father James W. Dolan took over, first as administrator and then as pastor. During the tenure of Father Dolan, the results of the Reorganization Process began to unfold, and major changes were made in the diocesan school and religious system.

Due to the decreasing number of registered families (750 families in 1999), Loreto was assigned only one priest, the pastor, and the mass schedule had to be adjusted to accomodate this change. Changes in the scholastic system would soon follow.

Father James W. Dolan
Father James W. Dolan

On November 7, 1993, Loreto honored the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, who were celebrating the 100th year of their existence as a religious congregation of women, with a special liturgy and reception.

Then, on December 10, 1994, Loreto celebrated the 700th anniversary of the miracle of the Holy House of Loreto, with a Liturgy involving as many priests who served the parish in the years gone by as well as the priests who were ordained from the parish.

Brookline Regional Catholic

As the parish was getting older and smaller, the number of students in the elementary school began to decline to the point that quality Catholic education was being jeopardized due to high costs, dwindling enrollments and increasing parish debt.

On January 8, 1995, Loreto entered into a Task Force with Resurrection, St. Pius X, St. Pamphilus and St. Catherine parishes, who were experiencing similar problems, to study alternatives that would make a quality Catholic School education available to more families and more sustainable by the parishes.

The result of this year-long study was the establishment of a three parish school merger, which was approved by Bishop Wuerl on January 17, 1996. Through the consultation process it was determined that Our Lady of Loreto, St. Pius X and Resurrection Schools would close and give birth to a new regional school named Brookline Regional Catholic School.

After 35 years of faithful service to
the parish, the Loreto sisters skated
on to their next assignment in 1996.
The Sisters skated off to their next assignment in 1996.

After the completion of the 1996 school year, Loreto had to say goodbye to the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, who had staffed the school for thirty-four years. The Sisters had to leave because of their dwindling numbers and other education ministries they had to staff. A special Mass and celebration was hosted in their honor on May 19, 1996, and the sisters bid their farewell on June 12, 1996.

Brookline Regional Catholic School opened on August 30, 1996, and Bishop Wuerl was on hand to celebrate a Mass in dedication of the new school opening. Since then Brookline Regional Catholic has developed an excellent, vibrant educational program with a quality faith-filled staff and administration.

Our Lady of Loreto school was used for the preschool, kindergarten, and primary students of BRC until the end of school in 2004. St. Pius X was the site for the older elementary students. In August 2004 the Our Lady of Loreto site was closed and the St. Pius school housed all Brookline Regional Catholic students, which continues today.

St. Pius X monument

Many accomplishments made during the thirty-four years of Our Lady Of Loreto School will never be forgotten. Many Brookline children received their religious education through the teachings of the Sisters and the many lay instructors that served as teachers.

A New Century and the 50th Anniversary Approaches

Father Dolan presided over the parish until his departure in 1999, which was also the 19th and final year for the Loreto carnival. Reverend George F. Chortos became the adminstrator of Our Lady Of Loreto. During his five years at Our Lady of Loreto, Father Chortos worked hard to further the tradition and spiritual well-being of the Loreto congregation.

Father Chortos was reassigned in late-2004. In 2005 Father Robert J. Miller was appointed administrator. In 2006, Bishop David Zubik named Father Miller as the eighth pastor of Our Lady of Loreto parish. Father Miller had been the pastor at St. Pius X parish, located one mile away on Pioneer Avenue, since 2002. In his dual pastorship role, he oversaw both congregations.

Father Robert J. Miller.
Father Robert J. Miller

Beloved by parishioners at both St. Pius and Our Lady of Loreto, Father Miller's steady leadership saw Loreto through the parish’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2009. His tireless efforts throughout the community of Brookline continued until his reassignment, to St. Peter and Paul in Beaver, in November 2011.

Father Gary Krummert
Father Gary Krummert

In December, 2011, Father Gary Krummert was assigned as pastor of Our Lady of Loreto, assuming the dual pastorship role with St. Pius X. Father Gary Krummert hailed from Kennedy Township and was a graduate of Montour High School. The church's Ninth 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 Bachner.

Reverend James Bachner - The Tenth 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 Our Lady of Loreto and St. Pius. Already quite popular with his congregation in Beechview, Reverend Bachner has brought his youthful exhuberance and leadership qualities to the families of Our Lady of Loreto and St. Pius X in Brookline.

Reverend Bachner officially took on his new assignment as the tenth paster of Our Lady of Loreto Roman Catholic Church during a Mass in April 2013 celebrated with Bishop David Zubik. The congregations of Saint Catherine of Sienna in Beechview, along with Our Lady of Loreto and St. Pius X here in Brookline, were fortunate to have such a fine man leading the way through these difficult and challenging times. Reverend Bachner prepared to guide the parish through the second decade of the 21st Century and beyond.

Saint John Bosco Academy

In June of 2014, The Roman Catholic Diocese decided on renaming Brookline Regional Catholic School after Saint John Bosco. The new name of the school would be Saint John Bosco Academy, and it officially opened in August for the 2014/2015 school year.

Saint John Bosco (August 16, 1815 – January 31, 1888), popularly known as Don Bosco, was an Italian Roman Catholic priest, educator and writer of the 19th century. While working in Turin, where the population suffered many of the effects of industrialization and urbanization, he dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth.

Saint John Bosco.

He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method that became known as the Salesian Preventive System. Don Bosco was beatified in 1929, and cannonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Pius XI in 1934.

Much to the dismay of Brookline Catholic families, on February 23, 2019 the Diocese of Pittsburgh announced that due to financial considerations and low enrollment (only 80 students) Saint John Bosco Academy would be shuttered at the close of the 2018-2019 school year.

Despite petitions from concerned citizens, the diocese stuck to its decision. Local parents in search of parochial alternatives for their children were forced to look elsewhere. This brought to an end the 107 year tradition of Catholic education within the boundaries of the Brookline community.

Brookline-Beechview Catholic

In September 2015, the diocese called upon Reverend Bachner once again to take over the responsibility of a further two parishes, this time the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline and St. Pamphilus in Beechview. Reverend Bachner was now the Pastor of five distinct churches, all within close proximity of each other.

The five-church merger for a while was known as Brookline-Beechview Catholic. While the diocese pondered the potential closing of one or more of the individual churches, they retained their own identity and Masses were still held at each church.

Questionaires were circulated among parishioners to choose a new name to replace Brookline-Beechview Catholic. While the congregations of each of the five churches awaited a decision on the fate of their respective houses of worship, the spirit of God continued to flow through those hallowed halls.

Saint Teresa of Kolkata Parish

On May 17, 2019, by decree of Bishop David A. Zubik, the parish of Saint Teresa of Kolkata was formed as a merger of the five Brookline-Beechview parishes. The parish was served initially by Pastor Reverend James M. Bachner, Reverend Gary W. Oehmler (Vicar), Reverend Fernando Torres (Vicar), Deacon Mark S. Bibro and Deacon Thomas J. O'Neill.

Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu was born August 26, 1910, in Skopje (now the capital of North Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Skopje for eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.

Saint Teresa of Kolkata

Commonly known as Mother Teresa, in 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that had over 4,500 nuns and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people who are dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis.

It also runs soup kitchens, dispensaries, mobile clinics, children's and family counselling programs, as well as orphanages and schools. Members take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and also profess a fourth vow - to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor."

Mother Teresa received a number of honours, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She was canonised as Saint Teresa of Calcutta on September 4, 2016, and the anniversary of her death (September 5, 1997) is her feast day.

A controversial figure during her life and after her death, Teresa was admired by many for her charitable work. She was praised and criticised for her opposition to abortion. On September 6, 2017, Saint Teresa and Saint Francis Xavier were named co-patrons of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta. Now, Saint Teresa of Kolkata will be forever linked to the communities of Brookline and Beechview.

Decree forming Saint Teresa of Kolkata Parish.

"Mass of Farewell"

On Sunday, August 30, 2020, a "Mass of Farewell" was held at Our Lady of Loreto church. It was the final Mass celebrated at the church, putting an end to Our Lady of Loreto's glorious and spiritually lifting sixty-one year history in the Community of Brookline.

Loreto Sanctuary on May 30, 2020
The Our Lady of Loreto sanctuary before the final Mass on August 30, 2020.

♦ Video - Mass of Farewell - August 30, 2020 ♦

The Pastors and Administrators
of Our Lady of Loreto Parish

Father Arthur L. Garbin
(May 1959 - March 1968)

Father Raymond A. Cercone
(March 1968 - September 1972)

Monsignor James P. Shanahan
(September 1972 - November 1978)

Father Joseph R. Grosko
(December 1978 - August 1981)

Father Charles J. Chatt
(August 1981 - July 1992)

Father James W. Dolan
(August 1992 - October 1999)

Father George F. Chortos
(November 1999 - January 2005)

Father Robert J. Miller
(January 2005 - November 2011)

Father Gary Krummert
(December 2011 - December 2012)

Reverend James Bachner
(December 2012 - August 2020)

Reverend James Bachner
Reverend James Bachner

Assistants and In Residence

Father James Woods (May 1964-August 1967)
Father John Doherty (August 1967-December 1968)
Father Thomas More (March 1969-August 1969)
Father Morgan Walsh (June 1969-June 1970)
Father Hanry Szarnicki (June 1970-August 1971)
Father Robert A. Valko (August 1971-August 1974)
Father Thomas O'Neill (August 1974-June 1979)
Father Richard Roos (July 1979-July 1984)
Father Ronald Cellini (July 1984-June 1985)
Father Nicholas Spirko (June 1985-October 1992)
Father James Young (January 2005-June 2006)
Father Frank Almade (June 2006-July 2007)
Father David Bonnar (July 2007-May 2009)
Father Harry Bielewicz (May 2009-February 2012)
Father Joseph Freedy (March 2012-July 2012)
Father Gary Oehmler (July 2013-July 2020)
Father Fernando Torres (2017-August 2020)

Father James Woods (right), shown here
with a group of second graders after
First Holy Communion on May 15, 1966.
Also pictured are Fr Garbin, Sr Ann
Marie and Sr Francine. Altar Boy Richard
Seiler went on to the priesthood in 1980.
First Holy Communion on May 15, 1966.

Deacons and Seminarians

Deacon Barry O'Leary (August 2006-June 2007)
Seminarian Thomas Gillespie (Summer 2007 and Summer 2008)
Deacon Mark S. Bibro (2019-2020) Deacon Thomas J. O'Neill (2019-2020).

Sons of the Parish

Reverend Richard L. Conboy, Jr. (March 1960)
Reverend Joseph Krah (December 1963)
Reverend Richard N. Whalen (May 1967)
Reverend Harry Nichols (May 1973)
Reverend James Kunkel (May 1973)
Reverend Richard Seiler (October 1980)
Reverend Carmen D'Amico (June 1982)

Daughters of the Parish

Sister Bernadette Fondy - The Sisters of Charity (September 1964)
Sister Donna Korczyk - Passionist Contemplative Order (January 1980)

The renovated Sanctuary - May 1985
The Our Lady of Loreto Sanctuary after renovations, including new altar and pulpit, in May 1985.

The Principals of Loreto Elementary School

Sister Estelle Murphy (1961-1965)
Sister Pauline Signorino (1965-1968)
Sister Adrianne DiLonardo (1968-1973)
Sister Rita Petrarca (1973-1979)
Sister Christine Kiley (1979-1982)
Sister Rita Petrarca (1982-1986)
Sister Dominic Joseph Valla (1986-1992)
Sister Catherine Antinora (1992-1995)
Sister Susan Nolkemper (1995-1996)

The Sisters who taught at Loreto Elementary School

Sister Catherine Antinora
Sister Ruth Aubrey (Mark Marie)
Sister Patricia Brady
Sister Lorraine Bunnell
Sister Carolyn Carlisano (Mary Nicholas)
Sister Marie Elena Cascio
Sister Vivian Chiodini
Sister Patricia Cigrand
Sister Diane Cipolla (Mary Daniel)
Sister John Catherine Coleman
Sister Kathleen Mary Coonan
Sister Adrianne DiLonardo
Sister Terence DiRomolo
Sister Dorothea Dottario
Sister Maureen Fitzgerald
Sister Maureen Flynn
Sister Rose Eugene Gabianelli
Sister Madaleva Gall
Sister Mary Carol Gentile
Sister Mary Angela Gianino
Sister Pamela Giannette
Sister Maura Shaun Green
Sister Francine Guglielmo
Sister Katherine Heimann
Sister Madeline Henry
Sister Jerilyn Hunihan
Sister Irene Janello
Sister Christine Kiley (Luke Damien)
Sister Janet Kofron
Sister Sandra Krupp
Sister Marilyn Lagermann (Bernetta)
Sister Shawn Lyons

Sister John Marie Miano
Sister Daniela Minniti
Sister Eugenia Maria da Salva
Sister Veronica Marinari
Sister Mary Kenneth Marischen
Sister Kierstin Martin
Sister Maureen Martin
Sister Diane Mastroianni
Sister Barbara Matazzaro
Sister William Estelle Matthews
Sister Kathleen McCloskey
Sister Ellen K. McCormack
Sister Lynda Beth McFarland
Sister Jacinta Medley
Sister Estelle Murphy
Sister Jean Musco (Mary Jude)
Sister Susan Nolkemper
Sister Ellen O'Connor
Sister Rita Petrarca
Sister James Marie Roach
Sister John Kevin Sanicola
Sister Pauline Signorino (Ann Marie)
Sister Mary Karen Skurat
Sister Colleen Smith
Sister John Martin Sullivan
Sister Laura Jeanne Sullivan
Sister William Ann Tidgewell
Sister Dominic Joseph Valla
Sister Mary Grace Walsh
Sister Alicia Wolf
Sister Mary White (Simon Peter)
Sister Rose Yanase

* Thanks to Sister Dominic Joseph for providing this information *

The Sisters at Loreto during the 1970s   The Sisters at Loreto during the 1980s

The Principals of Brookline Regional Catholic School

Maryann Knoll (1996-1998)
Janet Salley-Rakoczy (1998-2014)

The Principal of Saint John Bosco Academy

Janet Salley-Rakoczy (2014-2019)

Our Lady of Loreto Church/School Photo Gallery
* Click on images for larger pictures *

Holy House of Loreto
The First Mass - 1959
The Church Choir - 1959
Blessing School Children - 1959
First Christmas - 1959
Women's Guild - 1959/1960
First Communion - 1960
Fundraising Committee - 1960
Bowling League - 1960
First Communion - 1961
Church/School Construction
Laying of the Cornerstone
Bowling League - 1961
Flag Dedication - 1962
Usher's Club - 1962
First Communion - 1962
Boy Scout Troop #5 - 1962
A Bird's Eye View - 1962
3rd and 4th Grade - 1963
First Communion - 1963
May Crowning - 1963
First Communion - 1964
Student Enrollment - 1964
CYO Basketball - 1964
Wedding At Loreto - 1964
Catholic Schools Week - 1966
First Communion - 1966
May Crowning - 1966
Loreto Lions (8th) - 1967
First Communion - 1970
Men's Softball Team - 1971
First Communion - 1972
All Saint's Day - 1973

Loreto Lions (5th) - 1975
Loreto Lions (6th) - 1975
Class of 1975
Loreto Lions (6th) - 1976
Class of 1976
Kateri Awards - 1977
1st Grade Class - 1977
Class of 1977
Loreto Lions (3rd) - 1978
Loreto Lions (5th) - 1978
Class of 1978
Loreto Lions (4th) - 1979
Loreto Lions (6th) - 1979
Loreto Lions (8th) - 1979
Class of 1979
May Crowning - 1980
Loreto Lions (6th) - 1980
Loreto Lady Lions - 1980
Family Day - 1981
Class of 1983
Loreto Lady Lions - 1983
Loreto Lady Lions - 1984
25th Anniversary - 1984
Loreto Basketball - 1986
Class of 1986
Loreto Lions (5th) - 1987
Loreto Lions (6th) - 1988
Loreto Lions (8th) - 1990
Class of 1993
Class of 1996
Clearing the Grounds - 2009
50th Anniversary - 2009

Our Lady of Loreto - 5/1/1986
Students release balloons filled with prayer cards in May 1, 1986.

Our Lady of Loreto - Patron Saint of Aviators

Ensign James Charles Wonn

Ensign James Charles Wonn
Shot Down Over Laos
February 17, 1968

Our Lady of Loreto is the Patron Saint of Aviators. The link above tells the story of one of the members of the parish who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War and was listed as Missing in Action for twenty-five years. It is a touching reminder of the power of Our Lady of Loreto and how she watched over him and eventually helped to guide him back to his family after so many long years of uncertainty.

James Wonn's Our Lady of Loreto
Medallion that was found in Laos.
James Wonn's Our Lady of Loreto medallion that was found in Laos.

Our Lady of Loreto History webpage designed by Clint Burton in cooperation with Loreto Parish.
* Last Updated: August 31, 2020 *

Loreto Sanctuary - December 1980

<Local Churches> <> <Local Schools> <> <Historical Facts> <> Brookline History