Ancient Order of Hibernians In America, Inc.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
PO BOX 98098 ” PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA 15227
Dear members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians,
Imagine it’s fall, 1808 and a newly ordained priest, Fr. William Francis Xavier O’Brien, rides into a small town in Western Pennsylvania at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela river. His mission is to establish the first Roman Catholic Parish in Pittsburgh. He finds only 20 Catholic families in the area and none with the financial means to support a new church. So begins the saga of the first Catholic Church west of the Allegheny Mountains. With the missionary zeal of St. Patrick himself and some early support, Fr. O’Brien was able to lay a church cornerstone in 1808 and open a completed, first St. Patrick’s Church in 1811: a small brick church with a wooden floor, a pitched roof and no pews, as they couldn’t yet be afforded.
From those humble beginnings, the parish grew and outgrew a number of buildings until finally on March 17th, 1936, the church as we know it today was dedicated. History reports that during its construction a piece of the Blarney Stone was inserted in the Round Tower of the church. A key feature of “Old St. Patrick’s Church is that it contains 39 Holy Stairs of marble, situated within the center of the church. These Holy Stairs represent the 28 steps between Christ and Pilate when Pilate condemned Jesus to death. There are only 5 other replicas of these stairs in the world. Ascending the Holy Stairs is a devotion that one does on their knees.
Old St. Patrick’s is truly a very special and holy place but a place that is in need of help itself. Over its many years of providing services to Pittsburgh’s Catholic Community it has been known for its mission to the poor and needy of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. For many years it was home to Pittsburgh’s Irish Catholic immigrant community, helping many during the periods of “No Irish Need Apply” and rampant discrimination because they were both Irish and Catholic. They also helped many of the other Catholic immigrant groups establish their early churches as well.
Throughout the lifetime of St. Patrick’s Church, it has been the Ancient Order of Hibernians that has stepped up when the Church needed a hand to keep it going. Today the AOH has stepped up again to aid in the restoration of this historic Catholic landmark. This time, led by Allegheny County Division 9 over $50,000 worth of concrete, landscaping and building improvement has been provided for Old St. Patrick’s, all at no cost to the church. To complete this phase of the restoration there is one last major piece needed and we need your help to get it done. The statue of St. Patrick, which sits in the Monastery Garden in front of the church, needs to be replaced. The AOH is embarking on a fundraising effort to replace the statue. We are looking to raise $25,000.
We are reaching out to the AOH, LAOH, other related Irish organizations and other Catholic organizations to help us reach this goal. The statue has been ordered from Rome, Italy and should arrive in Pittsburgh sometime in January of 2018. It will participate in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in March and with your support, be installed and dedicated before summer of 2018. We thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. Please find below the suggested donation levels. As always, be assured that all help for this project effort is by volunteers, No one gets paid and 100% of collected proceeds go to support St. Patrick’s Restoration effort and statue replacement. May the Blessing of St. Patrick be upon you.
In Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity
Allegheny County AOH Division Nine
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Donations for this phase of the “Old St. Patrick’s Church Restoration Project” are due by
May 1st, 2018 and may be sent in care of:
AOH Division 9
PO Box 98098
Pittsburgh PA 15227
Additionally, to provide for recognition of those that feel so moved, we have created a sponsorship program for the project. These sponsors will be predominantly recognized at the Church.
Sponsorship levels are as follows:
Platinum Level: $1000 and up
Gold Level: $500 to $999
Silver Level: $250 to $499
Brass Level: $100 to $249
Donors up to $99 will receive an appropriate acknowledgement of their donation suitable for framing.
We thank you for your kindness and support in keeping this very special place open for all who come there in need.