Dedication of Most Holy Name Church
North Side - Pittsburgh
[Very Rev. John Stibiel, V.G.]
The Very Rev. John Stibiel, V.G.
Founder of the Church of the Most Holy Name
To introduce this chapter, devoted to the founder of our congregation, I shall quote from the works of the Rev. Dr. A. A. Lambing: “The subject of this brief and unsatisfactory notice was born of poor but pious parents in the town of Gorz or Goritz, in the province of the same name, lying north of the northeastern point of the Adriatic Sea, in the Austro-Hungary Empire. But so reluctant was he to say anything referring to himself, that his most intimate friends could not succeed in bringing him to the subject, and almost all that is known of his parentage, birth and early life is made up of casual remarks that he unconsciously let drop. He was a man, however, in whom were united in a very remarkable degree the learning, prudence, virtue and zeal which constitute the saintly priest. Though young in years, he soon gave evidence of unusual energy and administrative ability which won for him a high place in the esteem and confidence of the Bishop and his brethren in the sacred ministry, which time only tended to increase and strengthen.”
That these words of the learned Doctor are not merely eulogistic is evident, first from the fact that the Rt. Reverend Bishop Domenec selected Father Stibiel as Vicar General of the Diocese, and secondly, from his achievement in erecting three prominent churches of the North Side which stand as monuments of his priestly zeal and administrative ability.
Father Stibiel was the second Pastor of Saint Mary Church, Lockhart and Nash Streets, where he exercised his ministry from January, 1850, until his death on January 13, 1869. The congregation was organized two years before he took possession, but until his arrival no material progress had been made, other than the erection of a small frame church. At once the good Pastor demonstrated his ability as a builder by rearing the present handsome edifice of Saint Mary’s, together with other parish buildings. Later on he built Saint Joseph Church, Manchester, and our own Church of the Most Holy name, and realized therein the fulfilment of his life’s cherished hope of erecting three churches singly dedicated to the members of the Holy Family.
Father Stibiel was attacked by his last illness before the close of the year in which Most Holy Name Church was dedicated. It was on the evening of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1868, as he was in the act of delivering a masterful sermon on the glorious Patroness of his church, when he experienced a peculiar sensation that obliged him to curtail his discourse and repair to the Sacristy. He suffered from a severe hemorrhage, which disabled him for further duty and finally hastened his demise. His death occurred on January 13, 1869, the octave of Our Saviour’s Epiphany. He attained the age of only forty-eight years, but into that short span he crowded the labors of one whom the zeal of the House of the Lord hath devoured, and he laid the foundations of one of the greatest Catholic communities in the Diocese. Bishop Domenec offered the Solemn Pontifical Massof Requiem on Saturday, January16th, after which the remains were carried for burial to old Nunnery Hill, now called Fineview. Here a little chapel was built after a few years and his body was exhumed to be placed in the burial vaults beneath; but time proved that this was not to be his last resting place.As the Nunnery Hill plot became inadequate for further burial purposes, the Benedictine Fathers in charge of Saint Mary’s purchased a new tract of land in Ross Township along he Mount Troy Road and blessed it as the new cemetery in 1898. Father Stibiel’s remains were transferred to the new plot February 14, 1906, and the writer of these lines, then only a boy, remembers the incident well. The remains were contained in a steel casket which weighed several hundred pounds. After the outer lid was removed the corpse could be viewed through a heavy plate glass. Due to the fact that the casket was hermetically sealed, the corpse was in a state of perfect preservation, despite the thirty-seven
years since death had taken its toll. The only indications that death’s victim was not of yesterday were the darkened color of the skin, the brown appearance of the surplice, and the faded blue of the purpose store. We trust that Father Stibiel sleeps securely in the pear and joy of the Lord and that his soul is refulgent with glory for his zealous and saintly labors.
The Reverend S. G. Mollinger
[Rev. S. G. Mollinger]
The Reverend Suitbert G. Mollinger
First Pastor and Founder of St. Anthony Chapel
Among the death notices recorded in the Church Register we find the following: “Reverendus D. Suitbertus G. Mollinger, per annos 24 rector ecclesiae Sanctissimi Nominis Jesu in Troy Hill, natus die 29 Maji 1830 Mechlinae in Belgia, sacerdos ordinatus die 30 Aprilis 1859, obiit die 15 Junii 1892, R. i. p.”
“Reverened Suitbert G. Mollinger, for 24 years the rector of the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus at Troy Hill, was born May 29, 1830, at Mechlin in Belgium, ordained priest April 30, 1859, died June 15, 1892. R.i.p.”
Father Mollinger was a man of renown whose fame spread far into the land. From distant points clients came to him and to his wonderful Chapel; the attraction of his name and work drew the attention of thousands. I should deem is extremely difficult to summarize in a brief description all the salient features of his priestly life, and shall content myself by quoting for the most part from the historical works of the late Monsignor Lambing who was personally acquainted with this priest and who deemed him entitled to a somewhat lengthy notice in his book. I shall begin by the use of direct quotation and indicate by the parenthesis any insertions of my own.
Father Mollinger was, in may respects, a remarkable man; and as such, was differently regarded and judged by different persons. His father was a Protestant, and at the time of his birth, is said to have been prime minister to the King of Holland; though he was born in Mechlin, Belgium, April 1, 1830 (May29, 1830, according to the Death Record cited above). The position occupied by his father is sufficient guarantee that every opportunity was afforded him of securing a liberal education. Besides the ordinary branches which he would be expected to study, he devoted himself also to that of medicine. His entire course was made in the Old World (at Amsterdam, in Italy, probably Naples, and at Ghent). Little is known of his early life; and he is said to have come to America when he was about 28 years of age. But from what is known of his subsequent career, it is almost certain that he must have come at an earlier day, as it is certain that he studied in at least one institution of learning in this country, and that he applied to at least three different religious orders or congregations for admission, and spent some time in one of them before he determined to devote himself to the sacred ministry in the ranks of secular clergy. At length he applied to Bishop Young of Erie and was received and ordained by him, although the date of his ordination is not preserved in the archives of that diocese. I have, however, before me the copy of the faculties of that diocese granted to him, and presumably the first he received, which is dated April 30, 1859; and which could fix his ordination, if not on that day, at least a very short time before it, both on account of the scarcity of priests at that time, and also because Bishop Young was not a man to let another under him rest long on his oars.
Father Mollinger’s first mission was at Brookville, the county seat of Jefferson county; and he made this the headquarteers of his missionary districts as long as he remained in the diocese. The home congregation was not large, but it had a considerable number of out-missions, both in farming districts and at the little blast furnaces which at that time dotted this and the adjacent counties. . . . .At length he determined to withdraw from the Diocese of Erie, a resolution which he carried into effect about the end of 1864, as it would appear, when he entered the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The first mission of Father Mollinger in the Diocese of Pittsburgh was Wexford, a country village on the “old Franklin Road.”. . . .He was named the first resident Pastor, with the additional care of Perrysville. Here (Perrysville) he undertook the building of a church, the cornerstone of which was laid by Bishop Domenec, July 4, 1866, and the
dedication took place on the 6th of October of the same year, when the little brick edifice was placed under the invocation of St. Teresa. After laboring in this field till June, 1868, Father Mollinger was transferred to the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Troy Hill, which was destined to be the scene of his most noted activity, and the place from which his name and fame spread over the greater part of this country and Canada. . . .
The chapel (of Saint Anthony) became a centre of attraction from far and near; and even before the building of the chapel, Troy Hill and Father Mollinger were well known. It was not unusual for persons to come hundreds, and in some instances, thousands of miles to St. Anthony’s Chapel, and more especially on his feast, when they could be counted by the thousands; while on other days hundreds of visitors were not uncommon. It would be difficult to form a correct opinion of the occurrences in and near this chapel; and no opinion will be ventured, although I am free to confess that I, in common with many others, both clerical and lay, was not a great admirer of all that transpired on Troy Hill. That extraordinary cures were effected is beyond doubt, but just by what agency they were effected I leave it to others to determine. They are simply matters of fact, and, like all such matters, must stand or fall according to the strength or the weakness of the evidence on
which they actually or presumably rest. There is, of course, no doubt that Ominpotence can and does work miracles when, where and by whatever means it sees fit to employ; but it is equally true that people often attribute to supernatural intervention that which is no more than the result of natural causes that are only imperfectly understood. External objects and ceremonies work on our faith, our imagination, our credulity, our will and heart; and it is very often difficult, and for the ordinary mind, impossible to determine just where to draw the line.
Father Mollinger made, as we have seen, a course more or less complete in medicine, and had a fair knowledge of disease and their more common remedies; and being a man of enthusiasm, impulse and determination, his manner would naturally have an influence on those who placed themselves under his direction. He was also a man of very strong faith, and he firmly believed that miracles should be performed in our day as they were in apostolic times. But in treating those who appealed to him he very often, and generally, mingled the natural with the supernatural. It was his custom to inquire carefully into each individual case, bless the afflicted either with or without a relic, require them to visit the chapel a number of mornings, commonly three, recite some prayers, and if non-Catholics, to abstain from meat on Fridays; and to these he would add some medicines to be used according to direction.
As a matter of course, persons visiting the chapel would make offerings; and some of these visitors, being wealthy, frequently made very liberal donations. For this reason, it was commonly supposed that the good priest was very rich, not a few placing his wealth as high as three million dollars. Doubtless he received a large amount of money, but he spent large amounts for reliquaries and the other expenses of getting his collection together; that he bought lots and built his residence at his own expense, and no one knows all the other use he made of much of his means in the interests of charity and religion. But when he died, many were anxious to learn the extent of his fortune, and it was found that the highest estimate ventured by those who were in a position to know best, did not place it at more than $75,000; and it is doubtful if it reached more than half that sum when a full settlement was made.
During his while priestly career, Father Mollinger was a most indefatigable laborer in the cause of religion, and as he advanced in years he began to feel the effects of h is early toils and privations. While his field of labor was constantly taxing his energies more and more, his health was beginning to decline, although the energy that had nerved him during life was loath to yield. But after a bried illness he was called from earth on Wednesday, June 15, 1892, in the 63rd year of his age and the 34th of his priesthood.
Father Mollinger was nearly six feet tall, strongly built, but somewhat heavier
in later years; his countenance indicated great force of character, and his disposition was impulsive and would ill brook opposition. The long heavy beard which he wore was calculated to add to the impression which his size and appearance would naturally make on the people who thronged to his chapel. He went little among his brethren in the sacred ministry, but those who visited him found him ever ready to manifest the true sprit of his high calling.” (“Fountain Stones of a Great Diocese,” by Rev. A. A. Lambing.)
If this description of the life and activities of our first Pastor were to stand alone, it might appear that little else was accomplished by him other than receiving the pilgrims and client to the chapel, but the pages of this book record his deeds and accomplishment for the church and parish, and we have seen that he was by no means a man of sentiment only, but a man or action, awake to every phase in the life of a busy Pastor. He never allowed to be obliterated from his mind that he was the shepherd of the little flock and that his first duties were to those entrusted to his priestly care. The
death that came to him all too prematurely was due to the fact that he literally exhausted himself.
For years he suffered from some affliction of the abdominal viscera, but never let is interfere with his activities until at length he succumbed. It was on the Feast of taint Anthony, June 13, 1892, when the final blow struck him. He offered Holy Mass early in the morning in order to receive afterwards the concourse of pilgrims which was unusually large on account of the formal opening of the remodeled and renovated chapel. His strength began to fail before the morning was well spent, and during the course of the afternoon he was forced to bed. His physician made a thorough diagnosis of the case and concluded that the only possible hope for life and recovery lay in a surgical operation. The emergency was performed in his own chamber, but the malady was beyond cure. Father Mollinger died two days later, June 5, 1892, and was buried on Saturday, June 17th. His remains rest in the Most Holy Name Cemetery, Reserve Township.
May he rest in peace.
[Rev. John B. Duffner]
The Reverend John B. Duffner
Among the outstanding figures in the ranks of the diocesan clergy, but especially among the priests of the German parishes, was Father John B. Duffner. He was born in Schoenbach, Vellingen, Baden, Germany, on July 17, 1843, and pursued his studies partly in Switzerland with the Benedictines and the Jesuits, and finally in America at old Saint Michael Seminary, Glenwood, Pittsburgh, Pa. Bishop Domenec elevated him to the Priesthood on January 25, 1868 (the year of Holy Name’s dedication) after which he offered his First Mass in Saint Augustine Church, Lawrenceville, where he also remained for a short time ecting in the capacity of Assistant.
His first charge was Saint Agnes Church, Thompson’s Run, over which he presided for two years and then returned to Saint Augustine’s until November, 1871. At this time a new congregation, under the patronage of Saint Peter, was formed at Brownstown or Ormsby, as it was sometimes called, now the South Side, Pittsburgh, and Father Duffner received the appointment as Pastor, and it was by no means a sinecure. He was confronted by an arduous task, enveloped with many disheartening circumstances of hardships and privations, but as he was a man eminently fitted for the work, the excellent church and congregation on the South Side remains as a monument to attest his zeal, energy and ability. He acted not only as the Pastor of Saint Peter’s to make his people the beneficiaries of his priestly zeal, but also labored in a sort of missionary capacity to let the Catholics of Carrick share in his ministration. He founded Saint Wendelin Congregation in Carrick, and besides attended to the spiritual wants of Saint Francis Church, Homestead. Even Saint Martin Church at West End, then known as Temperanceville, and the mission at Bull Run, Mifflin Township, now Duquesne, Pa., were cared for by him, and after twenty-two years of such active and zealous labor he consented to accept the charge of the Troy Hill Congregation. With feelings of deepest regrets his parishioners bade him farewell and expressed their esteem by the numerous keepsakes they tendered him in token of loving remembrance.
But the loss to Saint Peter’s was the gain for Most Holy Name. The same zeal which marked his administration on the South Side urged him to greater efforts on Troy Hill. He manifested whole-hearted interest in his new charge and was prompted by motives which were entirely impersonal. He devoted all his time and energy for the welfare of the parish and we have conclusive proof of this is in the very settlement alone of the litigation between the heirs of Father Mollinger and the Most Holy Name Congregation. This was a mater that caused him many worries and difficulties, but it did not deter him from mastering it any more than did the debt incurred by the transaction whereby the Rectory and the Chapel, with all appurtenances, were acquired for the parish. Previous financial obligations, plus this additional debt, indicated that work and worry were to be the daily attendants of the Pastor, but nevertheless Father Duffner was prepared to do his utmost and serve with all his power--and he succeeded.
In the Chronology and in the account of the parish history we have seen that the growing population of the parish required better accommodations in church and in school, and Father Duffner satisfied both requirements. First he enlarged the church, and secondly, began the erection of the new school, but death’s fell hand prevented him from seeing the latter project completed.
Greater, however, than the management of the temporalities, was the spiritual care which Father Duffner exercised over his flock. He was pre-eminently a priest of God and consequently a man of zeal and prayer. To this day the old parishioners have not forgotten the fervent devotions conducted by their spiritual father and they have naught but words of praise for the great encouragement in faith which they received from him. His pastoral trips, his encourag-
ing words and acts of kindness, endeared him to the hearts of the people; and if he had his faults, as surely he did, they were blanketed by his great love for the poor and his sincere, if not always prudent, charity to all. The special objects of his loving care were the bereft children of the flock and the bruised souls of the fold. Saint Joseph Asylum knew how he loved the orphans and the Home of the Good Shepherd saw his zeal for the conversion of weak unfortunates. And how the little children of the parish loved him! Those who were the tots of his day enthusiastically narrate his friendly disposition and tell of the many pictures, medals, rosaries, and prayer books that they received from him. Father Duffner simply lived in the hearts of his people.
Young men in the Seminary, too, knew him as a friend; nay, more than a fried, they knew him as a father. In all sincerity and gratitude they called him the “Studentenvater,” a German appellative which alone expresses the interest he had for those who were striving to ascent unto the Altar of God. He offered his house and home as a shelter for many a young student from the Fatherland, and but for his fatherly solicitude, many a youthful heart, far from home, would have pined in loneliness and homesickness, and perhaps would have wavered along the path that leads into the Sanctuary. There are today in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and elsewhere many priests who owe the fulfillment of their hopes and early aspirations to this gentle and kind priest.
Father Duffner’s manners were usually blunt, but at all times sincere. His ordinary sermons, whilst lacking the rhetoric of a scholar and the delivery of an orator, were always poignant with true wisdom which never failed to leave its impression upon his hearers. They were the words of a real father.
For fourteen years he labored in this fashion among the parishioners, and finally, after an illness of several months, his life came to a close on Monday, October 15, 1906. The solemn funeral Mass was said on Thursday, October 18th, after which his remains were carried to Saint Peter’s Cemetery, South Side, to sleep amongst his children of former days, there to await the final summons when death shall be no more. His memory has lived and will continue to live until the last who knew him in life has passed away. Most holy Name Church was blessed, indeed, by having for its Pastor, the Reverend John B. Duffner.
R. I. P.
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[Rev. Michael F. Mueller]
The Reverend Michael F. Mueller
Father Mueller was born at Luxemburg on June 29, 1864, but was brought by his parents to Kirby, Wyandotte County, Ohio, when six years of age. He received whatever primary education the little country settlement had to offer and spent the remaining time working on his father’s farm where he became inured to hard labor. Building barns and sheds, keeping constantly occupied with the labors with early country life, he ingrained upon himself a particular love for manual labor which was one of the characteristics of his entire life. At seventeen, an age somewhat late to begin classical studies, he entered Mount Calvary College, Wisconsin, to begin the academic course, and by earnest application, he listed himself as an apt scholar and completed the course with the usual honors. After this he entered the Jesuit School in Detroit, Michigan, and finally came to Saint Vincent Seminary, Beatty, Pennsylvania, for his course in Sacred Theology. He was ordained April 23, 1893, by the Rt. Reverend Bishop Phelan.
His first clerical appointment was that of Assistant to Father Duffner at our own church, where he remained until November 13, 1896, and then was transferred to the Church Saints Peter and Paul, Larimer Avenue, Pittsburgh. By this appointment he was brought into contact with one of the greatest priests of the Pittsburgh Diocese, the late Monsignor Joseph Suehr, Pastor of the Congregation and Vicar General of the Diocese. The Monsignor was a man of great learning and piety whose life and services were a boon not only to the Catholics of the East End but to the Diocese in general. His labors as a Diocesan Official were of the greatest value. The few years spent by Father Mueller with this prelate were very profitable for himself, and the friendship that was engendered lasted a lifetime.
Following his term as Curate at East End, Father Mueller was appointed Pastor of Saint Joseph Church, Verona. Later, he was transferred to Saint Alphonsus Church, Wexford, and then to Saint Agnes’, Thompson’s Run, near Duquesne. His final appointment before being awarded the rectorship of Most Holy Name Church was the pastorate of Saint Wendelin Church, Carrick. In every field, Father Mueller’s labors were arduous, constructive and coordinating efforts which proceeded from a spirit of real zeal and love for his parish, and everywhere, but especially in our own congregation, he left a solid foundation whereon his successors could build.
When Most Holy Name Parish became vacant through the death of Father Duffner, Father Mueller decided to present his application. During the life of the former priest, the parish was raised to the dignity of an Irremovable Rectorship, and as such could not be assigned to another Pastor until a canonical concursus was held. Father Mueller passed the examinations successfully and on January 13, 1907, he returned as the Pastor of the church where he began his sacerdotal labors. He came, therefore, not to meet strangers and unknown people, but to renew the acquaintances and friendships he had made twelve years previously and to render his pastoral services to the people of his “first love”.
The death of Father Duffner left the congregation under the burden of a heavy debt which was incurred by the erection of the new school. At the arrival of Father Mueller, the building was completed with the exception of the final touches, and these completed, the dedication was set for April 23, 1907, and afterwards the new Pastor contracted for some necessary alterations and improvements in the old building.
Father Mueller improved the church property and buildings in many important forms during the years of his administration, but the greater part of his work was of such a nature as not to command the attention of the general public. He installed the systems of steam heating in the
church and old school- an improvement which seemed so commonplace after it was completed that it received very little comment, and a work so concealed that the people at large could not form an idea of its vastness. Previous to this improvement, he had excavations made under the church and school to give room for spacious basements, and this was something which did not come under the observation of the people at all. He constructed a retaining wall in the rear of the Rectory and built a similar wall, together with concrete steps, at the Cemetery. He enlarged the Rectory, the Sacristry and the Convent; had the church frescoed and bought many beautiful articles for church use and adornment, such as gold candlesticks, rich vestments, etc. He even had an electric generator installed and operated it as a matter of economy because electricity was expensive and not yet generally used in the homes. All in all, Father Mueller had work performed which entailed a very great expenditure of money without the sheen and glamour of great undertakings; but how competently he financed his projects is told in the figures of the very substantial reserve fund which was left at the time of his death. He cancelled the parish debt, paid for great improvements, and left some forty thousand dollars in the treasury. His stewardship was, therefore, one of great benefit to the congregation, but not in temporal matters alone, for he left a parish spiritually sound and thriving.
Ill health, however, prevented him from accomplishing the greater things he had in mind. Suffering for several years in wakeful nights and restless days, he grew prematurely old and succumbed to the inevitable call of death on Wednesday, October 4, 1922, in his fifty-eighth year. After the Solemn Obsequies on Tuesday, October 10, the remains were taken to Kirby, Ohio, to be interred beside the graves of his beloved parents.
May God grant rest to his soul.
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[Rev. Godfrey Pfeil]
The Reverend Godfrey Pfeil
Our beloved Pastor, Father Pfeil,was appointed to the charge of the congregation on February 1, 1923,and since his arrival he has made the parish progress with remarkable strides.
When death's cold hand summoned our late Pastor, Father Mueller, the parish in deep sorrow mourned the loss and remembered with their prayers and offerings Holy Masses the friend who served them for fifteen years. But as the movements of time do not cease, nor is progress halted in its course when the grim reaper beckons even the leaders among men, it was quite natural that people would turn their thoughts, wrapt in anxious concern, to the question into whose hands their parochial interests and spiritual care would be entrusted next. Many a fervent prayer was offered that God would deign to bless the parish with another good Pastor, another real shepherd of souls, and those prayers were answered when Father Pfeil was named by the Rt. Reverend Bishop.
"Dues providebit" (God will provide) were the words of an elderly Capuchin Friar who sat in the Rectory one day discussing the matter with the priests in charge; and the five years that have elapsed since the installation of Father Pfeil have proved that these words were true. God has
provided by sending a good priest and a father who is loved by all.
Godfrey Pfeil was born at Stollberg, Rhine Province, Germany, of pious Catholic parents. The Lord blesssed these fervent people with twelve children, two of whom are now priests of the Most High and two professed Nuns in the great Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Providence. What happiness must this have been for that aged couple when their sons and daughters were received by the Almighty and taken into His service; and what a consolation for the venerable father and the saintly mother when these children knelt at their bedsides to whisper fervent prayers for their departing souls. The good father died several years ago and the lady mother passed into Eternity just two months ago. May God reward those gentle souls for the encouragement they gave and the sacrifices they endured to bring these children into the House of the Lord.
Father Pfeil attended school in his native city until the age of thirteen, when his parents emigrated to this country. They selected Ford City, Pa., as their home, and the youth Godfrey completed his primary education by attending Saint Mary Parochial School for one year. In September, 1895, he entered Saint Fidelis College, Herman, Pa., for the pursuit of higher studies, and when the classical course was completed under the direction and tutorship of the Capuchin Fathers, he entered Saint Vincent Seminary, Beatty, Pa., (September, 1901), to take up the studies of Philosophy and Theology. This curriculum extended over a period of five years, after which he was ordained priest by the Rt. Reverend Leo Heid, O.S.B., on June 30, 1906.
On the day following his ordination, Sunday, July 1, Father Pfeil offered his First Holy Mass in Saint Mary Church, Ford City, amid the rejoicing and thanksgiving of his rejoicing parents, relatives and host of friends. His first Pastoral appointment was received on the twenty-first of that same month and it was to this very parish, over which he now presides as Pastor, to which he was sent to be Assistant to Father Duffner, whose failing health demanded the help of two Curates. By this appointment he and Father Killmeyer became associated and continued in the administration of the parish until Father Mueller took charge.
His services being no longer required, Father Pfeil was transferred on January 14, 1907, to Saint Joseph Church, Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, where he remained as Assistant for thirteen years. He labored here with characteristic earnestness and zeal, and every parishioner recognized his amiable qualities and unselfish spirit for the
interest of the parish; and when the Rt. Reverend Bishop promoted him to the pastorate of Saint Mary Church, Beaver Falls, Pa., the people felt that they were parting with a real friend and a true priest. Father Pfeil moved to his new church on March 4, 1920, and found that he was confronted with a giant's task of coordinating a financially burdened parish; but with his combination of indomitable courage and impregnable ability he succeeded after two years of labor to leave a prosperous congregation in the valley town. By his aptitude, promptness and devotion he also promoted to an excellent standard the spiritual welfare of his people.
When the death of Father Mueller left a vacancy in the pastorate of Most Holy Name Church, and after the canonical concursus was announced for the appointment of his successor, Father Pfeil's mind reverted again to the church where he began his priestly duties. He was advised and urged by many friends to enter his application and to compete for the parish. The examinations were held on November 14, 1922, with the happy result that Father Pfeil was declared the successful candidate. He received his notification after the New Year and was inducted on February first. The solemn ceremonies of the installation were held the following Sunday with Reverend Father Fussenegger and Reverend Father Bey assisting. A Solemn High Mass was offered, during which the late Monsignor Herman Goebel delivered a masterful and inspiring sermon.
The accomplishments of Father Pfeil since his term of office began are recorded in their sequence in the chapter treating the parish history; hence, to be free from the guilt of tautology further amplification must not be sounded. Let us conclude, then, by merely expressing the wish and breathing a prayer that Father Pfeil may enjoy many fruitful years on Troy Hill, and that under his ever zealous care and fervent devotion the Church of the Most Holy Name may continue in the enjoyment of the prosperity, harmony, spiritual vigor and health that sign it on the occasion of its Sixtieth Anniversary.
Ad Multos Annos
Assistant Pastors of Most Holy Name Church
In the days of Father Mollinger a number of the priests from the monasteries of the religious communities assisted in supplying the spiritual needs of the parishioners and of the pilgrims who came to the Saint Anthony Chapel. At first the Benedictine Fathers lent their aid, and notably amongst them must be mentioned the Reverend Gabriel Guerstner, O.S.B., and the Reverend Constantine Leber, O.S.B. The Capuchins were the next to help, and after them, but only for a short time, the Carmelites. Finally, and until the death of Father Mollinger, the Holy Ghost Fathers were in constant attendance. Of these are not to be forgotten the Reverend Fathers John Willms, Eugene Schmitt, Charles Langst and Francis Schwab. But as these priests were engaged by Father Mollinger personally and not appointed as Curates by the Bishop, they were not Assistant Pastors in the proper sense of the term. The first actual Assistant was appointed about the same time that Father Duffner became Pastor, namely, in September, 1892, and since then there has been a succession of Assistants who have labored faithfully and zealously for the spiritual as well as the temporal welfare of the church.
These worthy Assistants have been efficient helpers of the Pastors in the upbuilding of the parish and are, therefore, entitled to a place in the esteem and affection of the parishioners. We shall not dwell, however, upon their special merits which are known to God, Who is both faithful to see and just to reward the earnestness and zeal of a true minister of the Gospel. Moreover, it would be well nigh impossible to narrate what their zeal has accomplished or their fervor inspired; and perhaps unwittingly we would overlook some important detail of their labors and fail to give proper credit where it is individually due. Their works are written across the pages of the history of this parish, for without their able support and their unselfish, sacrificing interest, the Pastors could never have accomplished the great deeds that Most Holy Name boasts of today. But we feel confident that the people have not forgotten these faithful servants of the Lord and that their prayers and good wishes have accompanied them--and this is almost as thorough a reward as an humble Assistant expects. The rest he leaves to God.
The following list contains the names of the priests who were Assistants since 1893 until the present time:
1. The Reverendd Joseph A. Erhart, September, 1892, until February 20, 1893.
Appointed Pastor of Saint Teresa Church, Perrysville, Pa.
2. The Reverend Michael A. Frank, February 18, 1892, until May, 1893.
Appointed Pastor of Saint Cecilia Church, Rochester, Pa.
3. The Reverend Michael F. Mueller, April 1893, until November 13, 1896.
Transferred as Assistant at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Pittsburgh.
4. The Reverend Alphonse M. Yochum, May 25, 1895, until June 17, 1899.
Appointed Pastor of Saint Teresa Church, Perrysville, Pa.
5. The Reverend Leonard Stenger, June 17, 1899, until November 26, 1900.
Appointed Pastor of Saint John the Baptist, Monaca, Pa.
6. The Reverend Edward Kuetter, November 26, 1900, until July 6, 1901.
Transferred to serve in another diocese.
7. The Reverend Joseph Sedlmaier, Jul 6, 1901, until June 13, 1906.
Transferred as Assistant at, Saint Joseph Church, Liberty Avenue,
8. The Reverend Herman J. Killmeyer, June 15, 1906, until April 2, 1917.
Appointed Pastor of Saint Ursula Church, Allison Park, Pa.
9. The Reverend Godfrey Pfeil, July 21, 1906, until January 14, 1907.
Transferred as Assistant at Saint Joseph Church, Liberty Avenue,
10. The Reverend Aloysius Angel, July 7, 1910, until June 27, 1912.
Transferred as Assistant at Saint Leo Church, N.S., Pittsburgh, Pa.
11. The Reverend Otto E. Plantizer, June 27, 1912, until July 27, 1921.
Transferred as Assistant at Saint Catherine Church, Beechview, Pa.
12. The Reverend August Bieger, April 2, 1917, until January 9, 1919.
Transferred as Assistant at Saint Mary Church, McKeesport, Pa.
13. The Reverend Edwin P. Fussenegger, January 9, 1919, --------.
14. The Reverend Joseph Young, July 27, 1921, until June 8, 1922.
Transferred as Assistant at Saint Joseph Church, N.s., Pittsburgh, Pa.
15. The Reverend William F. Bey, June 8, 1922, until September 3, 1925.
Transferred as Assistant at Saint Ambrose Church, N.S., Pittsburgh, Pa.
16. The Reverend Alphonse G. Mihm, September 3, 1925-----.
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[Rev. Edwin P. Fussenegger}
The Reverend Edwin P. Fussenegger
Born in the neighborhood within easy access of Troy Hill, Father Fussenegger may be styled a "native son". He was baptized in Holy Name's mother church, Saint Mary's, at Lockhart and Nash Streets, in charge of the Benedictine Fathers, and attended the parochial school conducted by the Brothers of Mary. In September, 1906, he entered Saint Vincent College, Beatty, Pa., and upon the completion of the academic and collegiate courses was advanced to the Seminary for the studies of Philosophy and Theology. On May 25, 1918, he was ordained priest in the Abbey Church by the late Archbishop Canevin, and on the following day, which was Trinity Sunday, offered his First Holy Mass in Saint Mary's. On the feast of Saint Anthony, June 13, 1918, he began his sacerdotal career at Saint Leo Church, Brighton Road, N.S., Pittsburgh,to which he was sent as Assistant. Whilst attending this church, he also assisted in supplying the spiritual needs of Saint John's General Hospital, McClure Avenue. On January 9, 1919, he was transferred to Troy Hill and is now in his tenth year as Assistant at the parish which he considers the best in the diocese.
The Reverend Alphonse G. Mihm
As previously stated, in the course of the many years of the existence of Most Holy Name Church, the Pastors received very efficient and necessary help from a number of energetic and interested Assistants. The spiritual and material upbuilding of the parish is due to the simultaneous efforts and hearty cooperation between Pastors and Assistants, and everyone of them deserve a just portion of recognition and gratitude. Among the foremost of those who have labored so faithfully and efficiently is the younger of the present Assistants, the Reverend Father Mihm.
Since his appointment to this parish, September 3, 1925, he has been prompt in the fulfillment of his duties and ever alert for the promotion of the best interest of the parish. His work, in fact, is so well known that further comment is unnecessary and his modesty would protest much praise. We hope that he will exercise his zeal for many years to come, and that his labors will be highly blessed by Almighty God.
Father Mihm came from a parish that has given many young men to the service of the Most High, Saint Joseph Church, Bloomfield, Pittsburgh. He attended the parochial school and then began his studies in preparation for the priesthood at Saint Vincent College, Beatty, Pa., September, 1913. After his graduation, he entered the Seminary connected with Saint Vincent's and was ordained by the Rt. Reverend Bishop Boyle on June 28, 1925. The First Mass was celebrated in Saint Joseph's on Sunday, July 5th, and on the 30th of the month he received his first appointment. He was stationed at Saint Ambrose Church, Spring Hill, but only as a temporary appointment, and after one month was transferred to Troy Hill.
Father Mihm has manifested great interest and accomplished remarkable results in the interests of the men of the parish. As Spiritual Advisor of the Saint Anthony Lyceum, he has sustained the life of the organization and injected many activities, and as Spiritual Director of the Holy Name Society he has by untiring work fostered the ideals of this great association. The men, in turn, recognizing his efforts and interest, have responded in a very laudable manner. But not only has Father Mihm been promoting the Holy Name Society within our own parish, but as the District Spiritual Director he has urged the work in all the parishes of the North Side, and everywhere we see renewed interest shown and praiseworthy progress being made. Best wishes to Father Mihm and to all priests who cooperate in this great work!
"Faveant Superi Tuis Conatibus."
[Rev. Alphonse G. Mihm]
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