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Recent News

  • 18.09.15

    Attachments:FileDescriptionRELIGIOUS ED FACT SHEET.doc ...
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  • 16.02.15

    Attachments:FileDescriptionPastoral Plan 2015-2018.pdf  Year One.pdf ...
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  • 20.12.14
    What is the Parish Pastoral Council?  Prior to 1999 parishes in our diocese functioned with a group of men and women, elected by the parish members under the heading of Parish Council.  There were four major committees that assisted the Pastor in managing the day-to-day tasks of running a parish.In the year 2000, the Bishop asked all the parishes to adopt a new model of operation call...
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  • 19.12.14
    Patte Grey - FacilitatorIvan HofmannMarty McDanielJeff MinarekJean BleyDonna PavlisAnna VillellaLinda SoldressenDonna Best...
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  • 30.04.13
    Registration forms are found under the "Forms" subsection shown above....
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  • 03.03.12
    We are excited to inform you that we now offer Online Giving! As a church that seeks to serve, we wanted to provide you the convenience of being able to give the way you want, whenever you want. Online Giving offers you the opportunity to make secure, automatic contributions from your bank [or credit card] account to our church.As we begin this new program, you may notice your neighbors placin...
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  • 02.08.11
      Please join the Saturday morning Men’s Bible Study in a journey through the history of the Catholic Church. Learn about the major people, places and events of two thousand years of church history. A DVD by Professor Steve Weidenkopf will be used, followed by a discussion of the material presented. Join us every Saturday morning at 7:30am in Meeting Room #1.  ...
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Home Home History Early Years
Early Years
Early Frame Church
Early Frame Church

Sewickley's Saint James Parish was formally established in 1863. Two hundred years ago, Catholics in Beaver County and Pittsburgh were planting the seeds of the Faith which were to be the source of its growth in Sewickley. Three hundred years ago Catholic explorers were the first white men to see this beautiful valley as they made their way down the Ohio River into the heart of our country.

 

Against this background of history, we are now getting the course for future growth of the Faith in this area with the building of a new and larger church. The road of progress has often been difficult and at times, nearly impossible. As we read this history, we can take courage in the knowledge that the hand of God most certainly is guiding us in our actions, as it has guided so many courageous and dedicated people before us.

It all began when French explorer Rene Robert de La Salle and his party ventured into this part of Pennsylvania, probably in 1669. If he was accompanied by a chaplain, as as was customary, Mass was celebrated in what is now the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Other expeditions followed. In 1758, the French supremacy of this region ended with the fall of Fort Duquesne.

With English control over this territory, immigration increased from the Eastern colonies and from Europe, especially England, Ireland, and Germany. Most of these newcomers were poor. England posted placards in villages and towns in Europe and in Ireland, too, urging laborers to come to this "New Eldorado." Since many could not defray the expenses of passage to the New World, on arrival the shipmasters sold them as "redemptioners." The usual price for the redemptioners was ten English pounds, and they served their masters for three or four years to obtain their freedom.

In 1757, a census revealed that there were 1,364 Catholics in Pennsylvania, of whom 948 were German and 416 Irish. Most were located in the eastern part of the state, with only a few in scattered areas of Western Pennsylvania.

The earliest definite record of Catholic worship in what is now Beaver County was in the summer of 1757 when Father Louis Virot came from Maine to found a mission among the Delaware Indians at the mouth of the Big Beaver River. Father Virot remained until Kakanke, chief of the Wolfe tribe, drove him away. Father Virot was killed by the Iroquois Indians near Fort Niagara in July of 1759.

These times were difficult for the Catholics and many suffered persecution and ridicule. The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, swept away barriers to religious freedom, and freed Catholics from English penal laws. The days of "Mass houses" were over, and the building of churches began.

Settlers in Beaver County during the early 1800's were attended by missionaries and priests from Pittsburgh. Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick, of Philadelphia, passed through Western Pennsylvania regularly, and dedicated SS. Peter and Paul Church at Beaver in 1837. Ten years later, Father James Reid, who later founded St. James Church in Sewickley, became the first resident pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church.