About Our Parish

St. Cecilia was founded in 1856 as a German ethnic parish.  Its origin can be traced to the arrival of some German families to the area in approximately 1852 and the desire of a local land developer to attract people to the town.  The land developer offered to donate land to any religious denomination that wanted to build a church.  Since the only church in Beaver County, Ss. Peter and Paul in Beaver, was an English speaking congregation, the Germans in Rochester accepted his offer in 1854.  Work began on the church in 1856 and the completed frame church was dedicated on November 22, 1857.

At first the church was a mission of St. Mary, North Side (then known as Allegheny City).  In 1868, the pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul died and the two parishes were united under one pastor.  Shortly afterwards, property was purchased for a rectory and the parish had a priest in residence.

Until 1875, the congregation remained exclusively German. Beginning in that year, the church began attracting English speaking Catholics.  By the end of the century or the beginning of the next, the parish became a territorial parish.

In 1900 Ss. Peter and Paul was separated from St. Cecilia with the appointment of a resident pastor.  In that year, the parish also received permission to begin work on a new church.  The existing church was torn down in August 1901 and the new one built on the same site.  The cornerstone was laid on October 25, 1903 and the church was dedicated on July 8, 1906.

The church was renovated in 1911, 1938, 1949 and 1951.  By the mid 1960’s the parish began making plans for a new church.  In March 1967 the church was demolished and work began on a new structure.  While the new church was being built, Mass was celebrated in the school gymnasium.  The first Mass in the church was celebrated on October 4, 1970 and the church was dedicated on November 22, 1970.

In 1994, the mission parish of St. Pudentiana was suppressed and the church was attached to St. Cecilia parish.  Five years later, on April 29, 1999, St. Cecilia church was closed due to severe structural defects.  Mass was moved to the former school gymnasium.  On July 29, 2001, the decision was made to demolish the church and replace it with a new building.