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S.S. Philip & James Catholic Church - New Castle PA

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In August 1922 the Rev. Vincent V. Stancelewski arrived from Pittsburgh to set up the new S.S. Philip & James Catholic Parish in New Castle, formed around a small contingent of parishioners from the growing polish congregation of the Madonna of Czestochowa Parish. Land was soon purchased for a new church in the sparsely populated section of the city known as Sheep Hill. The new S.S. Philip & James Church, facing various construction delays, was opened for services in December 1924 but not fully completed for another four years. (c1930)


Architect’s rendering of the S.S. Philip & James Catholic Church. Ground was broken for this building in May 1923. (c1923)


The first mass in the partially completed church was held in the basement on December 25, 1923 – a full year before the sanctuary was opened for services. (c1940)


The S.S. Philip & James Church was officially dedicated during a ceremony on September 3, 1928. The church soon expanded and added a rectory, parochial school, a parish hall, a convent, and a 10-acre cemetery out in Slippery Rock Township. (c1940) Full Size


This photo was taken in the church at the wedding of my aunt Kay LaPatka and uncle George Migut on June 8, 1940. The wedding party is from left: Steve LaPatka, Francie (Migut) Gebhart, Kay, George, my maternal grandmother Irene LaPatka, and Ed Kardish. June 8, 1940. (1940)


The Reverend Vincent V. Stancelewski, born near Pittsburgh is 1894, was ordained in 1918. He served a brief assignment in New Castle assisting at the Madonna Catholic Church before returning to Pittsburgh. In August 1922 he returned to New Castle to start the new parish/church to be known as S.S. Philip & James. Stancelewski became the dean of all county priests and served the church for forty-two years until be passed away at the age of seventy in November 1964. (1940)

The Reverend Frances A. Majda, born in McKeesport in 1912, succeeded Stancelewski as pastor of the church. Majda was ordained in 1939 and served at churches in such locales as New Kensington, New Derry, Lawrenceville, Braddock, and Lyndora before taking the assignment to New Castle in late 1964. He skillfully directed the affairs of the S.S. Philip & James Church for the twenty-five years until retiring in June 1989. He died in Pittsburgh as the age of ninety-five in July 2007. (c1960)


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Comment

  1. Fr. Majda baptized me in this church Dec. 1987. As a small child I remember giving him kisses on the cheek after Mass. He was one of my favorite priests. My Fathers family grew up two blocks down Hanna St. So we walked to Mass.

    I was very sad to see the diocese close this church I very much wanted to get married there.

    Sarah (Ostrowski) Simmons · 10/01/2013 02:47 PM · #

  2. I grew up on Hanna Street and attended SS Philip & James through high school and college. Also attended SS PJ grade school.
    I was eventually married there in November 1968.

    I hold many fond memories of services, processions, May crownings, dances, girl scouts and many good friends.

    Many members of my family also lived on Hanna Street, and some do still.

    Sylvia (Spincic) Danehy · 11/04/2013 06:36 AM · #

  3. Grduate from K in 1954 and got the pictures to prove it. If you would like to have let me know!

    Art Cascchia · 05/26/2014 10:30 PM · #

  4. I went to school there in the mid 60s. I was a alter boy there and have so many fond memories of that time. I moved away like in 1968 when I was 11. I have 4 older sisters who may know more of this time. If you have anything helpful please let me know. God Bless.

    Rod Kozol · 10/29/2016 06:33 AM · #