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.
|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|
|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|