Old St. Patrick’s Church Restoration
ABOUT OUR HOLY CRUSADE FOR OLD ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH
In early 2004, the Allegheny County Ancient Order of Hibernians began its holy crusade to restore the beauty to Old St. Patrick’s Church at the corner of 17th Street and Liberty Avenue in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Old St. Patrick’s Church is the oldest parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and predates it by 50 years.
Our first project was painting the 16 rooms that make up the living quarters for the church. AOH 32 took a leadership role in making sure the painting was completed hiring our brothers – the Riley brothers’ All Pro Painters team – to paint the church and having members of several Divisions throughout Allegheny County donate time and energies to painting all of the rooms too.
All Pro Painters stepped up and oversaw the painting of the apartments as well as donating the paint and supplies necessary to complete the project. And, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Allegheny County Board, took on the financial responsibility of paying for the entire effort.
The second phase of our makeover of the Old St. Patrick’s Church consisted of fundraising efforts and appeals to generate over $20,000 to place two new beautiful stained glass windows in the rear of the church. There were gaps between the existing frosted glass windows and the wall that allowed air to flow freely into the church making it difficult and costly to keep the church warm.
Through the kind generosity of the Allegheny County Ancient Order of Hibernians and spearheaded by AOH 32, our two year crusade to gift windows to Old St. Patrick’s Church in Pittsburgh’s Strip District (on the corner of Liberty Avenue and 17th Street) was accomplished and the AOH’s honorable tradition of gifting windows to Catholic churches continue to inspire future generations of Irish Catholic faithful.
We are pleased to recognize and honor the following Irish faithful who have donated $500 or more to help us realize our dream:
|AOH Division #1||AOH Division #4||AOH Division #21||AOH Division #32|
|AOH Division #32 Junior Division||AOH PA State Board||J. Christopher & Ann Donahue||Congressman Mike Doyle|
|Jim and Diane Flanigan||Friends of St. Patrick||Jim Horgan||LAOH Division #11|
|LAOH Division #32||Chuck and Carol McKee ($1,000)||Nick Parrendo||Pat and Vickie Schipani|
|Ellen Keeley Toomey||John and Maureen Waldron||The Wayhart Family||Tom and Carol Welch|
|Nora and Red Donnelly|
The new stained glass windows of Saint Brigid of Kildare and Saint Patrick of Ireland – designed and crafted by Nick Parrendo of the Hunt Stained Glass Studios – were blessed by Bishop Bradley of the Diocese of Pittsburgh on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th 2006.
Here is a brief backgrounder about the symbolism of the windows.
Saint Patrick of Ireland
Born: 387 at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland Died: March 17, 493 at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland (460 or 461 by other sources). Canonized: pre-congregation. Buried in Downpatrick, Ireland.
Patron of Ireland, and as represented in the window, bishop holding the shamrock used to explain the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. To Saint Patrick’s right is a representation of Saint Patrick enslaved as a shepherd in Ireland and instructed by the Angels to flee his enslavement.
Below both Saint Brigid and Saint Patrick are representations of stone posts and lintels -symbolic of the darkness and oppression of the people through the druid influence. Above them is a Celtic Cross symbolic of the liberation that the Catholic faith brings to the people of Ireland and the world. Saint Patrick stands atop a globe symbolic of his being one of the Saints universally recognized around the world. The likeness of Saint Patrick in the window is that of Fran Walsh, who for decades represented Saint Patrick in Pittsburgh’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade. May he rest in peace!
Saint Brigid of Kildare
Born: 453 at Faughart, County Louty, Ireland. Died: February 1, 523 at Kildare, Ireland Canonized: pre-congregation. Buried with Saint Patrick and Saint Columba in Downpatrick, Ireland.
Patroness of Ireland, and as represented in the window Saint Brigid is holding a cross she wove out of rushes from the floor to explain the love of Christ in His Passion.
To Saint Brigid’s left are students holding manuscripts -as Saint Brigid founded a school of art (Illuminations). Also to the left is a ship representing Saint Patrick coming to Ireland as slave.
To the right of Saint Brigid is Saint Patrick’s Rock/the Rock of Cashel.
All of God’s Blessings to members of AOH 32, LAOH 32 and the AOH 32 Junior Division who unselfishly gave of themselves to support our holy crusade for Old St. Patrick’s Church, and for witnessing the great things we can do together in true Christian Charity!