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St. Lucy Catholic Church (St. Vincent de Paul) - Mahoningtown PA

On Sunday, October 27, 1912, a dedication ceremony was held at the new St. Lucia Catholic Church, later known more popularly as St. Lucy, in the Mahoningtown section of New Castle, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. The small wooden frame church, actually a mission of St. Vitus Catholic Church in New Castle, was built on South Liberty Street to cater to the predominately Italian population of Mahoningtown. The driving force behind the founding of the small church was the Reverend Nicholas DeMita (1877-1956), the Italian-born pastor who had been assigned to St. Vitus for the last seven years. St. Lucy cost $3,000 to construct and was initially under the direction of the leadership at St. Vitus.

About a year later St. Lucy was upgraded to official church status and given its own parish, with the Reverend Joseph Daniele assigned as the first fulltime priest. As the congregation grew over the next decade or so it became apparent a larger church was needed. In about 1921 the Reverend Sebastian Ippolito (1889-1956), ordained in 1912, arrived from Italy to take over as pastor of the church. It was under his reign that separate properties were purchased to start a new St. Lucy Cemetery in 1928 and the new St. Lucy Church (built on North Cedar Street at the intersection of East Wabash Avenue) in 1930.

On the morning of Sunday, December 21, 1930, the last service was held in the old church on South Liberty Avenue. That same afternoon a ceremony was held in the basement of the new church to bless a new bell donated by parishioners Vincenzo Lateano and Joseph Adami. The bell was soon put in place and rang out for the first time a half hour before the midnight mass on Christmas morning. That and subsequent services were held in the basement until the main auditorium of the church was finally completed about a month later. The church was formally dedicated during a service on Sunday, February 15, 1931.

In 1955 the church underwent an extensive remodeling effort and an adjoining property was purchased for use as a parking lot. A nearby residence was also acquired to house the Sisters of the Holy Trinity, who were involved with the youth programs of the church. Unfortunately, at about the same time, the Reverend Ippolito, who had served the congregation with distinction for the past thirty-five years, succumbed to illness and passed away in April 1956. He was sixty-six years old. He was succeeded by the Reverend Dominic Oliver until June 1959, at which time the Reverend Wilbert A. Farina took over as pastor.

In August 1961 the church was certainly blessed when the Reverend Vincent C. Bertoline (1915-1991), who was ordained in 1946 and previously served under the Reverend DeMita at St. Vitus, took over as pastor of the church and faithfully guided the parish for the next thirty years. It was under Bertoline’s watch that construction of a massive new church and associated campus began in 1976 on a hilltop property, on an extension of 3rd Street named Lucymont Drive, in Mahoningtown. The church was officially dedicated during a service in August 1978. The grounds of the church have since been dotted with several impressive monuments honoring the church and its Italian heritage. The congregation suffered a great loss when Bertoline, while still serving as pastor, passed away at the age of seventy-five on August 26, 1991. The beloved Reverend was subsequently laid to rest in St. Lucy Cemetery in Mahoningtown.

In 1993, as part of a consolidation program, St. Lucy Church and Parish was merged with four other churches-parishes (St. Margaret in Mahoningtown, S.S. Philip & James and St. Michael’s in New Castle, and Holy Cross in West Pittsburg) to form the new St. Vincent de Paul Parish. I believe St. Margaret was closed soon after, but the other four churches remained open for the time being. Dwindling attendance saw three of the churches closed for good on September 8, 2007. Only St. Lucy, renamed as St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church at that time, remained open for services. St. Lucy and its one-time parent parish of St. Vitus are still closely associated even today, and currently (as of early 2012) share the services of two pastors – the Reverend Frank D. Almade and the Reverend Sean Francis.



To read an article about the Right Rev. Regis Canevin, the Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese, leading the Confirmation Rite of sixty students at St. Lucy’s in November 1916 click on: TO CONFIRM CLASS SUNDAY ARTICLE. To read a short blurb about the mass schedule at St. Lucy’s in 1917 click on: MASS SCHEDULE ARTICLE. To read about two weddings held at St. Lucy’s in April 1921 click on: WEDDINGS ARTICLE.

To contact St. Vincent de Paul Parish call (724) 652-5829 or visit their website at www.stvincentnewcastle.org


The original St. Lucy Church (shown above) was opened on South Liberty Street in 1912 as a mission of the St. Vitus Catholic Church in New Castle. The Reverend Nicholas DeMita of St. Vitus was initially in charge of both congregations. This church, which was upgraded to full church and parish status in 1913, served the local Italian Catholic population of the Mahoningtown area. (c1920)


A gathering of the congregation in front of the original St. Lucia Catholic Church on South Liberty St. This church, later known more popularly as St. Lucy, opened in 1912 as a mission of St. Vitus Catholic Church in New Castle. It served the the Italian immigrant community of Mahoningtown until a new church was opened nearby in 1931. (c1926) Full Size


The second St. Lucy’s Church, which was dedicated on Sunday, February 15, 1931, was located on North Cedar St. at East Wabash Ave. Services were initially held in the basement of this church beginning in late December 1930 while the main auditorium was being completed. (c1950) Full Size


The beloved Reverend Sebastian Ippolito arrived from Italy to take over as pastor in about 1921. The church experienced much growth under his long tenure. He led the thriving congregation for thirty-five years until he passed away in 1956. (c1931)


The Reverend Vincent C. Bertoline, previously assigned to St. Vitus Church, took over as pastor in 1961. He led the effort to have a new church built on the hilltop location in Mahoningtown in the mid-1970’s. Bertoline served the congregation with distinction for three decades until he passed away in 1991. (c1968)


The second St. Lucy’s Catholic Church was in service until replaced by the new St. Lucy’s (now St. Vincent de Paul) on Lucymont Drive in 1978. The old church on Cedar Street was later razed and the site is now a grassy lot. (c1970)


The third St. Lucy’s Church was built on Lucymont Drive – on a hill in Mahoningtown – and was dedicated in August 1978. In September 2007 it was officially renamed as the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. (Aug 2010)


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Comment

  1. Father Bertoline became pastor, I believe, in 1961. 1931 is an obvious error. There was an interim pastor after Fr. Ippolito whose name escapes me who was transferred to a church on the North Side of Pittsburgh where I encountered him in 1967 or ’68.

    Ralph Lombardo · 10/23/2011 05:59 AM · #

  2. In listing the former parishes which were merged to for the new Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, Saint Michael Parish was omitted.

    Russ Carley · 04/08/2012 05:22 PM · #

  3. (EDITOR’S NOTE) Thanks Russ! I left St. Michael out but I have made the correction.
    Jeff

    Jeff Bales Jr · 05/13/2012 04:49 PM · #

  4. The Reverend Ippolito was the brother of my grandmother.Was he buried there, near the church?
    Can you post some picture about him?
    Thanks

    lucia · 11/12/2013 04:25 AM · #

  5. GENTILE INTERLOCUTORE E CURATORE WEB SITE,
    AVREI PIACERE DI RICEVERE TUTTE QUELLE INFORMAZIONI E NOTIZIE CHE RIGUARDANO IL REV.DO SACERDOTE SEBASTIANO IPPOLITO, PARROCO DI St. Lucy a Mahoningtown PA (1921-1956).
    RINGRAZIANDO RESTO IN ATTESA DI VOSTRE.

    prof. GIUSEPPE AROMANDO

    GIUSEPPE AROMANDO · 01/25/2014 09:16 AM · #