Saint Victor Parish History
A little history that everyone should know about St. Victors Parish. Beginning in the fall of 1919, catechists were sent from the diocese to Bairdford to conduct religious education classes for the children of the area. On the second Sunday of each month father D.A. Lawless came to celebrate mass, both the classes and the mass were offered at the Bairdford school building. “The teachers rode the bus from (downtown) Pittsburgh to Geiser’s farm and walked the railroad tracks or the unpaved road from Saxonburg Boulevard to Bairdford School.
By 1922 the Catholic community was no longer permitted to use the school for the classes and services, and for a time there were other locations used. From June through September of that year mass was celebrated in a tent that was raised on the Second Sunday of the month. By that time, Father Victor Majka had been appointed to oversee the “Bairdford Mission”. Father Majka had made arrangements to return to the school building for classes and services. At this time father Majka began collecting money to build a Mission Chapel for the congregation. “On October 7, 1923 the Saint Victor Mission Chapel named for Father (Victor) Majka was dedicate and a Solemn High Mass was celebrated by Fathers Majka, Kozar and Lawless. At this time there seventy-five families in the parish and an enrollment on one hundred and one children in the CCD classes.”
With the building of the Saint Victor Mission Chapel built in 1923 on the hill overlooking Bairdford it became a Mission of Saint Killian Parish in Mars which was established in 1924. The parish was served by pastors of Saint Killian’s until November, 1947 until which time Father E. Charles Patterson was named the first resident pastor of St. Victor’s Parish. When Father E. Charles Patterson was named the first Pastor of Saint Victor Parish in 1947, the first piece of the present parish property was purchased. Ground was broken for the preset rectory on May 1, 1949. There is a photo in the vestibule of the church that commemorates the dedication of the rectory. Many of the men who dedicated their time with the construction are included in that picture.
In 1951 more property was purchased and permission was given to Father Dan McMullough, the new pastor of Saint Victor’s, to begin construction of a basement church. On September 15, 1952 the last mass was celebrated at the Misiion chapel and the following weekend Bishop John Deardon blessed the basement church and mass was celebrated there for the first time.
In 1959 Father James Kelly became and more property was purchased again for the activities building. Groundbreaking took place in June 1961 and on January 3, 1963 Bishop John Wright officiated at the dedication of the new building which soon became a center for parish programs and activities. Father Paul Conroy succeeded Father Kelly in 1966 and plans were made for the present parish church. Bishop Vincent Leonard dedicated the new church on December 12, 1971.
Over the years the parish has grown from a community of farming and mining into a thriving suburban community. Figures from West Deer Township indicated slow but steady growth in our area, with many new families. Father Jerome Filip served as pastor from 1972 until 1988, during which time new neighborhoods and residential areas were planned and build. Fathers Larry Stebler, Bill Hausen, Bart Sorensen and Bob Coyne served in the nineties and into the new century.
Today, St.Victor’s Parish has grown into a community cornerstone due to the hard work of all its parishioners and previous Pastors.