St. James Roman Catholic Church

 St. James Roman Catholic Church of Apollo has an unusual life story. The first Catholic resident of the town was Thomas Shorter, a colored man, in 1884. Soon after came James Mallon and family. Rev. James McTighe, resident pastor of Leechburg, took compassion on the little band of the faithful and in the house of James Reynolds the first Mass was said in Apollo. Later in 1884 the Uncapher Building on North Fourth street was leased and occasional services held. As Father McTighe had already two congregations to serve, he was compelled to turn the work over to St. Vincent’s Benedictine monastery, situated near Latrobe, who sent Father Fidelius to the scene. Under his care the congregation increased sufficiently to enable them to erect a small frame church, pictured above, in the Pegtown section of North Apollo. This building was dedicated in 1892 and today is a private residence. Following Father Fidelius came Father Constantine, and in 1895 Father Macarius Schmitt, who had the honor of being the last pastor. At that time the Apollo Rolling Mill was moved over to Vandergrift, and as the congregation were almost entirely deriving a livelihood from that source, they moved with it. They had increased to seventy-five families of over 450 souls and had outgrown the little frame edifice. They had bought two lots for the purpose of erecting a brick building of larger capacity. However, they proceeded with their plans, and shifting the work to Vandergrift put up a neat brick church at a cost of $5,000. In Apollo in 1926 masses were held in Gianini Bldg. until 1929 and then in private homes through 1944. The new church was built in 1954 on Owens View  with the school opening in 1955.  The school closed in 1998.

St James
St. James Roman Catholic Church as it looks today 2016.

5 thoughts on “St. James Roman Catholic Church

  1. Charlotte August 27, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    My name is Charlotte. I went to school at St James in 1960. I was in 1st grade. My maiden name is Stefanik. I lived on Warren Ave. above Reuben’s department store. I’d like to communicate with anyone that remembers and/or has any photos of the buildings and the school during that era.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Evelyn S March 23, 2019 / 8:22 pm

    To which Stefanik family do you belong to?


    • Charlotte Stefanik (now Wharton) March 28, 2019 / 5:48 pm

      Hello, Evelyn. My father’s name is Frank Stefanik. His brothers, Patrick, Louis and John. Are you in my family?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kit H Jaracy November 12, 2019 / 3:59 pm

    I was in the first Graduating Class at St. James. So sad to see that the school closed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. James Stankus August 4, 2020 / 8:36 pm

    Hi Kit, I was in the first graduating class also. My name is Jim Stankus. Small world. Many memories from the school

    Liked by 1 person

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