Old St. Patrick

Old Saint Patrick’s was the first Catholic parish in Pittsburgh, founded in 1808 in what was then the most Presbyterian city in North America. The parish moved more than once, and the current building dates from 1935, after the previous larger building burned.

The parish has a long history, obviously, but it was never more historical than in the 1930s, when the activist labor priest Father Cox broadcast Mass from the church, led marches on Washington, ran for president on the Jobless Party ticket, and got into very public altercations with the fascist radio priest Father Coughlin, who brought an action against him in ecclesiastical court. Father Cox was found guilty of slandering another priest, and Bishop Boyle of Pittsburgh was directed to take appropriate disciplinary action. Bishop Boyle duly noted the verdict, and appears to have decided that the most appropriate disciplinary action was no action at all.

A walled “Theotokos Garden” of statues of saints is a welcome refuge from the bustle of the Strip. Of course the most prominent of the saints is Saint Patrick.

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