History of St. Benedict the Abbot Parish

 

The parish of St. Benedict the Abbot, Peters Township, PA was authorized by Bishop John Wright of the Diocese of Pittsburgh in May, 1962. The new church was to be built on fifteen acres of land adjoining the Camelot development of Valleybrook Road, a gift from the Diocese.

The church first used the Peters Township Junior-Senior High School (located where Peters Township Middle School now stands) and St. Elizabeth's in Lawrence for various parish functions. This usage ended in Spring, 1965.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the first church was on Sunday afternoon, January 12, 1964. The ceremony marked the first time ground had been broken in Peters Township for a Roman Catholic Church. A huge crowded attended despite the below 20° weather, and everyone gave thanks for the long awaited day.

The original building was built as a temporary church and a CCD hall. The design was originally used because the growth of the parish was unpredictable. This allowed for the church to be converted to a multi-purpose hall we now call the Pope Benedict XVII Activity Center after the permanent church was built. The plan also was to convert the CCD hall (renamed the "Rev. William R. O'Brien Hall" in honor of Rev. O'Brien's 50th Anniversary to the Priesthood in 1992) into classroom space.

At the entrance to the Church a concrete cross with an open top was placed. The open top was to depict that Christ has risen. The concrete cross is still at the center of our existing parish grounds.

During the 1980's Peters Township continued to grow at a fast pace. With many new families with children becoming members of the parish, the need for additional classroom space for religious education and other activities became necessary. Groundbreaking for the new Education and Family LIfe Center was on July 9, 1992. It was dedicated on March 21, 1993 by Bishop John McDowell.

The population of the township continued to grow and with approximately 8,000 members, the need for more room and worship space became necessary. In 2001 a five-year fund raising campaign began. On August 7, 2004, there was a groundbreaking ceremony presided over by Bishop Donald Weurl for our present church. The "new" church was dedicated on August 5, 2006.

The main congregational area will hold about 1150. The floor is sloped toward the altar. The altar, crucifix and many other items were brought from the old church to the new one, There are three 25-foot stained-glass windows. Behind the altar is the window depicting the Baptism of Jesus. On the sides of the church are windows depicting the Annunciation and Finding Jesus in the Temple. There is a chapel (Blessed Sacrament Chapel) for daily mass that seats over 100. There are also a choir room, nursery, a bride's room, media center for recording and broadcasting the mass, a cry room and restrooms. The bell tower (the Rose Tower) is 84 feet high with a Carillon Bell system.

 

Pastors
 

Rev. William R. O'Brien May 29, 1962 - June 8, 1986
Rev. George T. Leech June 12, 1986 - January 16, 1989
Rev. Daniel A. Valentine January 16, 1989 - July 1, 1991
Rev. Philip J. Donatelli September 9, 1991 - May 20, 2007
Rev. Samuel J. Esposito May 21, 2007 - February 4, 2011
Rev. Robert M. Miller February 14, 2011 - Present

 

Parochial Vicars
 

Rev. Edward J. Kunco June 2, 1969 - October 27, 1972
Rev. Lawrence V. Holpp October 27, 1972 - December, 1972
Rev. Christopher Petrosky, TOR January 26, 1973 - May 1, 1973
Rev. Harry E. Nichols May 22, 1973 - October 2, 1978
Rev. Paul G. Spisak October 2, 1978 - October 6, 1980
Rev. James R. Bedillion October 6, 1980 - June 3, 1985
Rev. David R. Johnson June 3, 1985 - January 16, 1990
Rev. Robert J. Antonelli January 16, 1989 - January 31, 1990
Rev. Joseph R. McCaffrey June 30, 1990 - September 11, 1995
Rev. John E. Forbidussi October 23, 1995 - October 29, 1999
Rev. John J. Arnott January 21, 2000 - July 5, 2005
Rev. Joseph F. Keenan October 4, 2004 - May, 2008
Rev. Michael R. Ruffalo July 7, 2008 - August 22, 2010
Rev. Paul W. Merkovsky August 27, 2010 - November 21, 2011
Rev. Adam Verona July 16, 2012 - November 9, 2014
Rev. Daniele Vallecorsa November 10, 2014 - July 12, 2015
Rev. William Wuenschel July 13, 2015 - Present