Saint Malachy Parish History

In 1946, Dorothy Morgan, on behalf of Catholic Christians living in the Kennedy Township area, consulted with Father Phillip Moore, Pastor of St Francis DeSales Church in McKees Rocks about forming a new faith community. As a result of this meeting, a committee was formed at the home of Valentine and Martin Wajert to lay the foundation for the creation of Saint Malachy Parish. In the fall of 1946, the committee made a formal request to Father Daniel A. Lawless, Director of the Missionary Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at St. Mary of Mercy at the Point in Pittsburgh to obtain a priest to serve their new community.

The historic first Mass of the Kenmawr Mission was held on April 13, 1947 at the home of Carolyn and John Paczan with over 150 in attendance. During the time the community waited to be named a parish and for the installation of a permanent priest, Fr. Lawless celebrated Mass every Sunday at a site owned by Sophia and Joseph Werner located at 1813 Pine Hollow Road in McKees Rocks. The Kenmawr Mission became known as St. Malachy Catholic Church and the parish grew in conjunction with the post-World War II migration to the suburbs.

In 1953, seven years after the initial meeting with Fr. Moore, the Most Reverend John J. Dearden, Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, declared St. Malachy a parish and a member of the Diocese. From this point, milestones in the life of St. Malachy came swiftly. On February 26, 1953, Fr. William P. Weirauch was installed as St. Malachy's first pastor and under his leadership, the first permanent church and school were constructed. On May 9, 1953, in recognition of his assistance in creating this new faith community, Fr. Phillip Moore laid the cornerstone for the new St. Malachy Church. In September 1954, the Parish School opened under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. At this time, the sisters resided at the convent at the Ohio Valley General Hospital.

In 1959, in response to the community's needs, Fr. Weirauch led a second capital campaign for funding the construction of a larger school and an on-site convent for the sisters. Both structures were dedicated in 1961. As Kennedy Township continued to grow, so did the need for a larger church. Thus, in May 1968, ground was broken for the current church. Designed by Architect Joseph J. Balobeck as a testimony to the community's faith and to give Glory to God, the new St. Malachy Church was dedicated on April 22, 1972.

Over the years, St. Malachy parishioners have been blessed by the presence of pastoral leaders. In 1982, Fr. Nicholas M. Masterangelo was installed as second pastor of St. Malachy Church and the current rectory was built under his guidance. Fr. John D. Brennan was named the third pastor of the parish on September 16, 1991 and is largely credited for the sound financial state of St. Malachy today. Fr. Richard S. Jones joined the parish family on January 14, 2000 as the fourth pastor of the Church. Fr. Rich brought a wealth of strategic and spiritual vision to his first appointment as pastor and coordinated efforts in blending the historic past to meet the challenges of faith in the third millennium. The grace of each generation of people of faith here in this place exists to give greater honor and glory to God as well as service to our neighbor.

Today, under the leadership of our current pastor, Fr. John E. Hissrich, St. Malachy Church and Parish School continue to serve Kennedy Township and the surrounding communities as a central place to work, to worship, and to live as we carry out the teaching of Jesus Christ - our teacher, servant, and Savior. This church is the home and the heart of our Eucharistic community who gather with Christ as our Head. May this sacred ground be a place of welcome and blessing to all.


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