St. Vincent de Paul Parish

 

In this Bicentennial year, St. Vincent de Paul Parish is celebrating Its 75th Anniversary. The highlight of this observance will be an Anniversary Mass on September 19, 1976. Bishop Joseph H. Hodges and Auxiliary Bishop James E. Michaels will assist in this observance. A dinner will follow.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish was organized in 1901. There is evidence, however, that church services were held previously in a Catholic church on Virginia Street and in the homes of parishioners. These Masses were conducted by visiting priests, riding horseback, from as far away as Wheeling and from nearby Sistersville.

In its seventy-five years, St. Vincent de Paul has been served by nine pastors. The first pastor was a young priest, Rev. Marcellus Van den Busche, from Flanders in Belgium. He was followed by: Rev. John B. O’Reilly, who served temporarily for seven months in 1922; Rev. Camille De Laux, 1922-1929; Rev. George J. Petrasek, 1929-1930; Rev. Thomas J. Garrett. 1930-1939; Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald, 1939-1955; Rev. Eugene Jacobs, 1955-56; Rev. Edward Belinger, 1956-1965; and the present pastor, Rev. Eugene 0’Loughlln.

“That beautiful little church on Virginia Street” remained there until the late 1950’s. With the continued growth of the Catholic population, it became apparent that a larger church would have to be built. Also, more space was needed for a planned Catholic Center. After some years of discussion, nearly five acres of land was purchased in the Steelton area on July 17, 1957. A year later construction was begun on the Center.

Two school buildings and an auditorium-chapel were virtually completed on December 12, 1958, at which time the first Mass in these new facilities was offered by the pastor, Father Belanger.

The new school and church was dedicated by Bishop John J. Swint, D.D. in ceremonies conducted on May 10, 1959.

St. Vincent’s school was opened in September, 1961. Fifty children were enrolled in the fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. The school was staffed by the Sisters Auxiliary of the Apostolate from Monongah, W.Va. An eighth grade was added a year later. The last graduating class was in 1970.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish also includes a mission church in Paden City. Established in 1922, the mission church was named Mater Dolorosa, in honor of Our Blessed Lady. This church, too, had outgrown its capacity to serve the growing Catholic population In Paden City. On September 8, 1972 ground was broken for a new addition and a remodeling program for the mission. Two years later, on August 22, 1974, the beautifully renovated addition was dedicated.

From a humble beginning of some forty families of mostly Lebanese, German, and Irish decent, St. Vincent de Paul Parish has grown to where it now serves over 300 families and units of various nationalities in the New Martinsville area, including Paden City. The Parish is on a sound financial footing and prayerfully, the people of the Parish of St. Vincent de Paul’s look forward to a bright future. A new church is a possibility.


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