Most Holy Name of Jesus
As early as 1849 the Redemptorists Fathers had built a Chapel where North Catholic High School Auditorium stands. On December 12 1850, a Solemn High Mass was celebrated for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed. This was believed to be the first Mass offered on Troy Hill.
St. Joseph’s Orphanage was completed on Troy Hill and Mass was offered there daily. However, Saint Joseph’s did not have parochial rights, so many of the Catholics remained members of St. Mary’s Parish on the North Side. St. Mary’s Parish was administered by Rev. John Stible, O.S.B. His goal was to form two more churches which were to be dedicated to the Holy Family. A church dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus was build on Troy Hill and St. Joseph’s Church was built in the Manchester section of the North Side.
Most Holy Name Church’s cornerstone was laid on August 26, 1866, and on June 7, 1868, the church was dedicated and Father Suitbert Mollinger was appointed the first Pastor.
Father Mollinger’s first concern was the education of the children of the Parish. Using a room in the rear of the church as a classroom, 15 children were able to begin school in September of 1868. Later Father Mollinger built two side altars and replaced the main altar with a new marble one. Troy Hill became part of the City of Pittsburgh in 1870. In 1874 Most Holy Name School was built and the Sisters of Notre Dame came to take over the responsibility of educating the children. From his own resources, Father Mollinger built a rectory on Hazel Street, which is now known as Harpster Street, as well as St. Anthony’s Chapel adjacent to the rectory. A convent was build for the nuns and a second floor addition to the school. He also purchased land in Reserve Township for use as the Parish cemetery.
Father Mollinger died June 15, 1892, two days after the dedication of the completed work on the St. Anthony Chapel.
In 1892 Father Duffner became the second Pastor of Most Holy Name. Since the Parish continued to expand, Father Erhart was appointed as the first Assistant in order to help Father Duffner in the needs of the people. It was at this time when the church was expanded. The Sanctuary, the sacristy and the side entrances were added in 1898.
In 1905, it was decided that a new school building was needed and although Father Duffner died before its completion, the assistants saw that the work was finished.
In 1907, Father Michael Mueller became the third Pastor. In April of that year, he held the dedication of the new school.
In February of 1923, the fourth Pastor, Father Godfrey Pfeil was appointed. He oversaw many repairs for the Church, including a new floor, new light fixtures and the addition of modern lavatory systems. At this time he also built a new convent for the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
In 1927, pew rent was replaced by the envelope system. This system was so successful, school tuition was discontinued. A house at the corner of Tinsbury and Hatteras Streets was purchased and used as Kindergarten for many years. It was later used as the Commercial classrooms and after the discontinuance of commercial it was then used again as Kindergarten.
Father Herman Seidel served from 1935 to 1951 as the fifth Pastor. Parish improvements were limited at this time due to the Great Depression and the Second World War. During this time, one of the Parish’s most successful events was begun, The Harvest Festival.
On February 6, 1952, Father John Feldmeier was appointed as our sixth Pastor. The church was completely renovated and a baptistery was added on the left side of the church, and a new organ was purchased. The convent and school were also renovated during this time.
In 1968 the Parish celebrated its 100 Anniversary. A special Mass was celebrated in June of 1968, with Bishop Wright as main celebrant.
Father George Benton took over as the seventh Pastor in June 1971 and served until 1982. During his tenure, houses on Tinsbury and Harpster Streets were torn down to make a parking lot and play area for the school. St. Anthony’s Chapel was renovated inside and outside. On March 29, 1979, the school was destroyed by a tragic fire. The next day, many Parishioners showed their concern by joining together in a clean-up and salvage operation.
Both North Catholic and Grace Lutheran Church offered space so that the school year could be completed. In September of 1979, the school children were bussed to St. John the Baptist school until the new school was built and opened in 1982.
Father Richard Mueller was named as eighth Pastor on July 6, 1982. In 1983, the Parish celebrated the 100th Anniversary of St. Anthony’s Reliquary Chapel. A special Mass, dinner and open house were featured. This is the year the Summer Festival was begun.
In August 1983, the first step in the process of renovating the Church was started. Work started in March of 1984 and all services were then held in St. Anthony’s Chapel. One of the improvements made during the renovation, the former baptistery was converted into a Chapel, This Chapel is open 24 hours a day.
The dedication ceremony was held June 19, 1985, when a new altar was dedicated by Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Bosco and a reception was held in the Church Hall.
On June 24, 1989, Fr W. David Schorr was appointed as the ninth Pastor of Most Holy Name. We celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the completion of St. Anthony’s Chapel. On June 13, 1992, the Feast of St. Anthony, a Mass was held in Most Holy Name Church by Bishop Anthony Bosco, of the Greensburg Diocese.
The 125th Anniversary of the Church was celebrated during 1993-1994. Bishop Donald Wuerl opened the Celebration with Mass in June, 1993 and Bishop William Winter closed the 125th celebration with Mass in June 1994.
The parish community celebrated the 140th Anniversary of the Church and the 125th Anniversary of St. Anthony’s Chapel on June 8, 2008. This celebration included a Mass in Most Holy Name Church by Bishop David Zubik, along with a service in the Chapel in which many new relics were added.
On July 14, 2008, Fr. Lawrence R. Smith was appointed as the tenth Pastor of Most Holy Name Parish. In 2011, our Parish began a Capital Campaign in which we hope to raise the funds to replace the Church roof and School roof, and also resurface the Parish parking lot. We are now approaching our 143rd year of service to Christ and His church.