1863 - 1938
Saint Augustine Church
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St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
HISTORY OF SAINT AUGUSTINE'S PARISH
The New Church—1901
I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house; and the place where thy glory
The erection of the new St. Augustine's Church has much
of the casual about it. In the first year of his pastorate, 1898, Father Charles
felt obliged to make extensive repairs that would entail an appreciable outlay.
It was necessary to fresco the church, for the smoke and soot of Pittsburgh had
wrought their usual havoc on walls and ceiling. Then, too, the cheap quality of
the windows made it desirable to replace them by those of better make. When the
pastor discussed the matter with the Father Provincial and the church committee
there was a difference of opinion. Some advocated a thorough renovation of the
church, while others stoutly opposed such a measure. The latter urged that the
church, especially the original nave, was poorly built since the walls were only
thirteen inches thick. In the not too distant future it would be necessary to
build a new church, hence any heavy outlay at present would be a waste of money.
However, nothing was more alien to the mind of Father Charles than to sponsor
the erection of a new church. The debt still bordered on $30,000 and it would be
folly to add to an already heavy burden. Therefore, it was finally decided to
fresco the old church and to make whatever repairs were advisable.
But now the unexpected happened. Seeking a substantial donation toward the
purchase of new windows, Father Charles called first on Mrs. Mary Regina
Frauenheim and her daughter Miss Rose whose generous disposition toward the
church and the Capuchin Fathers had been amply evidenced in the past. But no
sooner had the pastor broached the subject of new windows than the two ladies
replied: "Is it really worth while to expend so much money on that old
building?" Jokingly the pastor answered: "If you give me fifty thousand dollars
I shall be only too glad to build a new church." Contrary to all expectation,
the two interested listeners took the pastor seriously and the elder Mrs.
Frauenheim replied: "Let us consider this for a few days and then we shall let
you know what we can do."
In high spirits Father Charles returned home and, confident that something big
was in the offing, he cancelled all arrangements for work on the old church and
awaited tensely the outcome of his visit. Within 'a few days his hopes were
fulfilled for Mr. Aloysius Frauenheim, the son and business manager of Mrs. Mary
Regina Frauenheim, called on Father Charles and assured him that the family had
decided to donate $50,000 towards the building of a new church.
Of course, this settled the matter—a new church would be built. But where? To
dismantle the church on Butler Street would mean the destruction of a
serviceable building and also the creation of a new problem of arranging for
worship during the building period. Then, too, building on the site of the old
church would require extensive excavation and this would render the cost of
building all the higher. Looking for a desirable site, many suggested that the
church be erected to the south of the monastery along Bandera Street, between
Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Streets. True, there was an alley between these
two streets, but the upper part of it could be used and a new outlet provided.
The suggested site comprised eleven lots on which sixteen houses of mediocre
value were standing. Regardless of the high price of $48,301.69 demanded, the
property was purchased as a site for the church.
The next task was to select a model. It was no temporary church that was to be
erected but one that should outlast many generations. Hence stability and
dignity must be its marks, for it will reflect for all time the mind and taste
of the builder. Father Hyacinth says the pastor invited the suggestions of his
brethren and a search was made in books and magazines of every description for a
picture of the ideal church. It is interesting to note that while scanning a
copy of Der Deutsche Hausschatz,(1) a friar came across a picture of a church
that met with unanimous approval. It was a picture of St. Benno's Church in
Munich. Like children who had found a treasure, the friars hastened to inform
the architect that they had made their choice and that he should model his
sketch on St. Benno's Church as portrayed in the old magazine. Father Charles
then appointed a building committee consisting of Messrs. Aloysius Frauenheim,
Charles Gloeckler, John Helbling, Titus Berger and Jacob Scholl.
The building committee met for the first time on January 10, 1899. The
architects of the Rutan and Russell Firm were entrusted with the sketching of
the plans, but Mr. John T. Comes, then a promising young Catholic architect of
Pittsburgh who worked for this firm, actually made the plans. Accordingly, St.
Augustine's Church is probably the first outstanding building designed by Mr.
Comes before he had established an independent office. On the occasion of Mr.
Comes' death on April 13, 1923, the Fortnightly Review(2) paid him the following
The death of Mr. John T. Comes, of Pittsburgh, robs the Catholic community in
the U. S. of perhaps the most gifted of its ecclesiastical architects . . . Mr.
Comes designed a number of splendid ecclesiastical edifices, among them the
Kenrick Seminary, near St. Louis, and did real pioneer work in the field of
Catholic architecture. His lectures to seminarists on this subject were
published in pamphlet form, under the title, Catholic Art and Architecture, and
found a wide circulation. The text lays down solid principles on ecclesiastical
art and architecture, while the plates, mostly reproductions of photographs of
some of the author's work, exemplify these principles as applied to modern
parochial buildings. The F. R. was indebted to Mr. Comes for occasional
contributions on his favorite subjects.
Having finished the plans, the architects invited competitive bids. But
unfortunately, the resulting figure threw all into great consternation. The
plans were too ambitious for the coffers of the parish, for the lowest bid asked
for more than one hundred thousand dollars. With the present debt above $30,000,
the whole idea of building a church was threatened with failure. But again, it
was the Frauenheims who, like ministering angels, came to the rescue. When all
seemed hopeless, this good family came forward with
(1) A very popular family magazine published at Ratisbon, Germany, from 1873
till about 1920. Catholic Encyclopedia, XI, p. 680.
(2) May 1, 1922, Vol. XXIX, No. 9, p. 165.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
an offer to double the sum they had already given, thus making their gift
On July 12, 1899, the bid of W. Miller and Sons for
$104,098.00 was accepted, and the next day the work of razing the houses on the
building site began. On August 17, the foundation stone was laid on the corner
of Bandera Street and Thirty-seventh Street, and about two months later on
October 29, the ceremony of laying the corner stone took place. At three o'clock
the bells of the old church rang out the signal for the uniformed societies to
leave their station in front of the present Casino building and march over
Bandera Street down Thirty-sixth to Butler Street, thence up Thirty-seventh to
the scene of the ceremony. The parade advanced to the accompaniment of the
Eighteenth Ward Military Band and was made up of the delegates from practically
all the Catholic societies of Pittsburgh, Allegheny and Wheeling. Mr. William
Eichenlaub was the chief marshall. Outstanding in the parade were Messrs. Edward
Frauenheim, Edward Leopold Frauenheim and William Heyl, three grand-children of
Mrs. Mary Regina Frauenheim. These young men carried the large copper box that
was to be inserted into the corner stone. Last in the parade came the clergy and
the Bishop, the Most Reverend Richard Phelan. When the latter had taken his
place on the platform, the choir under the direction of Mr. Aloysius Frauenheim,
sang the prayerful number: Wie lieblich sind die Boten, by Mendelssohn.
Thereupon Father John Otten, C.S.Sp.,(4) delivered the German address. He said
People of all times have set aside certain places as
holy to God. Thus did the patriarchs of the Old Testament, thus the Israelites,
thus King Solomon. The Christian Church, too, does the same. In the early as
well as in the later centuries, beautiful churches, magnificent masterpieces of
art, have arisen and have been dedicated to God. Who can count the sacrifices
which the people have at all times made to rear such temples to God. Today, too,
as we stand at the cradle of a temple destined to be the monument of
Lawrenceville and the pride of the diocese, we see the fruits of sacrifice. This
spirit has always breathed in St. Augustine's, but today especially we see how
it has inspired a noble soul to donate a wonderful gift without which the
building of this temple would have been impossible.
A similar spirit dwells in the hearts of the other
members of this parish, for they vie with one another in offering their gifts
for a house worthy of the Lord's earthly presence . . . We stand here as members
of a great Catholic parish. Let us continue to work on this holy temple, let us
spare no effort or sacrifice to erect a house to God worthy to contain the
graces which He Himself will pour abundantly upon us.(B)
The choir directed by Mr. M. Mais now sang: Macht die
Tore Welt, after which Father John Price, pastor of St. James, West End,
preached in English.(8) The speaker described the beauty of the Catholic Church,
contrasting it with the churches of other denominations which are mere assembly
halls for prayer and song but neither the houses of God nor places of holy
sacrifice. The corner stone was then blessed and placed by the Bishop, the Most
Rev. Richard Phelan, assisted by Father Joseph Anthony, Provincial, as deacon,
and by Father Hyacinth as sub-deacon. The Capuchin Fathers: Charles Speckert,
and Chrysostom Jacob were masters of ceremony, and Fathers Raphael M. Schwarz,
O.M.Cap., Augustine Noelle, O.M.Cap., and Alphonse Hillenbrand, O.M.Cap., were
chanters. The following priests attended: Reverend Fathers A. A.
(3) Hyacinth Epp, MS., II Abschnitt, pp. 79-88. The principal donations were:
Frauenheims: M-5. Mary Regina, $40.000; Miss Rose. $40.000; Mr. Aloysius.
$20.000; Mrs. Clementine Epping. $5,000; Mrs. Mary Heyl, $2,000; Mrs. J.
O'Reilly, $1,000; Mr. Leopold Vilsack, $1,000; Capuchin Fathers, $1,000.
(4) Rev. John Otten, C.S.Sp., was born on March 12, 1853 at Aix-de-la Chapelle,
Germany. Ordained in Paris December 23, 1876. Upon arrival in America was
stationed at Holy Ghost College and later at Sacred Heart Church, Tarentum. From
1893 till his death on February 8, 1926. he was pastor of St. Mary's Church,
Sharpsburg. Diamond Jubilee of St. Mary's Church, Sharpsburg. December 18, 1927,
pp. 22-26, 34. Enzlberger, op. cit., 248.
(5) St. Aug., November, 1899, pp. 1, 2.
(6) Rev. John C. Price became pastor of St. James' Church, West End, in July,
1897, and died there on April 11. 1911. His successor, Rev. Thomas P. Gillen
writes of him: "Father Price was gifted beyond the ordinary lot of men. As a
scholar, a writer, a linguist, or lecturer, he might have achieved fame; but
having consecrated his life to the service of God with all the earnestness and
zeal of his being, he endeavored to fulfill the duties of his holy priesthood.''
History of St. James' Church and Parish Schools, West End, Pittsburgh, 1916, p.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
Exterior of Old Church
Built 1862 - 1863
Corner Stone laid June, 1862
Dedicated November 26, 1863
Discontinued as a Church 1901
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
Lambing, John Duffner, George Allmann,(7) Ed. McKeever,
Peter Brady, Casimir Elsesser, O.S.B., Corbinian, O.S.B., Bernard Heil, C.P.,
Ferdinand Immekus, C.P., Jerome, C.P., Gerard Mitsch, C.P., Anthony Durkin,
C.P., Ambrose Bruder, O.Carm., Paul Ryan, O.Carm., John Peter Claver Willms,
C.S.Sp., B. Strzelczok, C.S.Sp., Joseph Schmitt, C.SS.R., Fr. Lauer, C.SS.R.,
Gregory Autsch, O.M.Cap., Felix M. Lex, O.M.Cap., Herman Joseph Peters,
O.M.Cap., and Didacus Rottlaender, O.M.Cap. The ceremony concluded with a
sonorous Te Deum accompanied by orchestra. It is on record that between four
and five thousand people witnessed the ceremony. As to the weather, Father
After a stretch of good weather since the beginning of
the building operations, it began to rain on Saturday night and threatened
to continue. All Sunday morning the clouds were lowering and only about noon
did the sky become somewhat clear. But just as the Bishop laid his hand on
the stone and adjusted it to place, the clouds parted for a moment and the
sun's golden beams streamed through as if to greet and bless the Stone.(8)
The corner stone weighing one and a half ton was
brought from Cleveland and prepared by Mr. James Stehle, a member of the
parish. The Latin document placed in the corner stone was composed by Father
Joseph Anthony. We give an English translation:
TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD!
In the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and under the title of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the
Church, this stone was blessed and laid with great solemnity, and in the
presence of an immense throng of the faithful, by the Most Reverend Richard
Phelan. Bishop of Pittsburgh; the Rev. John Otten, C.S.Sp.. and Rev. John
Price preaching the sermons; this day, the twenty-ninth of October, in the
year of Our Lord, 1889. Hi; Holiness Pope Leo XIII gloriously reigning;
William McKinley, President of the United States; Wm. Stone. Governor of the
State of Pennsylvania: Wm. Diehl, Mayor of the city of Pittsburgh.
The stone bears the inscription: "Ecclesia ad Sanctum
Augustinum, A.D., 1899," and besides the descriptive document contains:
documents listing the name of the Capuchins stationed at St. Augustine's
Monastery, the names of the Church Committee, Building Committee, ushers,
members of the choir, names of the Sisters attached to the school, and the
names of all pastors up to that date. It contains furthermore: copies of the
September and October issues of the St. Augustinus; a copy of the
Seraphisches Liebeswerk; a copy of the Pittsburgher Beobachter; copies of
the Pittsburgh Observer and of the Pittsburgh Catholic; a copy of the
Pittsburgh Post; a map of the Ecclesiastical Provinces of the United States;
Festive Number of the St. Raphael's Society; Directory of the Knights of St.
George; Jubilee 'Number of the C.M.B.A.; Statutes of the L.C.B.A.; various
postage and war stamps of the United States; various coins; several
photographs; relics of the saints; medals of the Immaculate Conception, of
St. Francis, St. Benedict, St. Joseph, and St. Anthony.(9)
With holy joy the faithful watched the progress
of construction. Each day they saw row upon row of brick mount higher until
October 20, 1900, when the windows, made in Innsbruck at the cost of
$8,034.14, were placed. By November 29, the two stately towers were finished
and ready to receive the bells. Again there was a memorable celebration.
How different the thoughts and ideas of men of half a
century ago! How simple, yet how demonstrative in behalf of the faith!
Today, when the old order has passed away, a twelve ton truck would rush to
the bell foundry, receive its massive burden and grind its way back to the
church, But not so in 1900, when the age of speed and of mechanics had not
yet dawned. To the religious minds of the past, those bells
(7) Rt. Rev. A. A. Lambing, the eminent historian and founder of the first
Catholic Historical Society in the U. S. (February, 1882), then pastor of
St. James' Church, Wilkinsburg. Died there as Monsignor on December 24,
Rev. George Allmann, then pastor of the neighboring German Church of St.
Joseph. Bloomfield. Pittsburgh. He was born on June 11, 1844 at Boellenborn.
Bavaria, and came to the United States on October 1, 1857. Ordained July 29,
1870. Died as pastor of St. Joseph's, Bloomfield. on May 21, 1901.
Bloomfield Monthly Record, April, 1912, pp. 3, 4.
(8) St. Aug., November, 1899, p 2.
(9) Ibid. Hyacinth Epp, Kinderfreund, IX, p. 83.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
were living things, they had loud powerful voices, and in
years yet unborn they would call the living and mourn the dead. Those bells,
that play such a significant part in Catholic life, are sacred; they must be
treated with reverence and their very acceptance for the holy place must be
accompanied with ceremony, solemn and sacred. Viewing today the installation
of St. Augustine's bells, one would think himself transported into the ages
The entire parish went out in solemn procession to
receive the bells on November 29. At two-thirty o'clock the great parade
started from the Chaplin and Fulton Foundry on Penn Avenue and First Street
where the bells had been cast, and proceeded to Liberty Avenue near St.
Philomena's on Fourteenth Street where it met the societies of that church,
thence to Twenty-first and Smallman Streets, passing en route St. Stanislaus
Church, thence to Penn Avenue and Butler Street, to Thirty-seventh Street.
When the parade passed the churches of St. Philomena and St. Stanislaus,
their bells, like great tongues from the steeple, pealed out a joyous
At the head of the parade rode five policemen followed
by Mr. John Fink, the marshall. Then came the mounted guard, fifty-five
prancing horses with uniformed riders, followed by the Cathedral band. Next
came one hundred Knights of St. George and fifty cadets, the Third
Pennsylvania Regiment Band, then, what the Beobachter called the central
attraction of the parade—Mr. Constantine Waldvogel mounted on a charger,
and beside him young Charles Vilsack and William Koebert, riding ponies.
The wagons with the bells followed next in the parade.
The first wagon, flag-draped and drawn by six white horses carried the great
St. George Bell of 5500 pounds, donated by the Knights of St. George. A
uniformed guard consisting of Messrs. Peter Loedding, Edward Steinkirchner,
Lawrence Fey and Edward Pottmeyer, was stationed on the wagon. The second
wagon, decorated in white and yellow and drawn by four horses, bore the St.
Mary's Bell, weighing 3000 pounds, the gift of Mr. Leopold Vilsack. Four
little girls formed the guard of honor: Leona Lackner, Hilda Limpert,
Margaret Fey and Mary Wallace. The last wagon, decked in white and blue and
drawn by four horses, carried the St. Joseph's Bell of 1800 pounds, and the
St. Raphael's Bell of 750 pounds. Various sources contributed to the
purchase of these two bells. The honor guard consisted of four boys: Edwin
Helbling, Anthony Schillo, Raphael Dauer and Albert Kalchthaler. Each of the
bells was decked with flowers and crowned with a green wreath.
After the wagons with the bells came the carriages with
the Capuchin Fathers and visiting clergy, the Church committee, the Building
committee, and the officials of the Knights of St. George. At Thirty-seventh
and Butler Streets the marchers formed two lines between which the wagons
and carriages passed to the entrance of the new church. While the clergy
took their places, the band played and then St. Augustine's choir sang the
song: Die Kapelle by Kreutzer. Mr. Joseph Reiman, representing the Knights
of St. George, now delivered a masterful oration in which he explained the
function of bells and concluded by presenting the bells to the parish.(10)
Two days later, on December 2, 1900, Father Hyacinth, Provincial, assisted
by the Capuchin Fathers, Joseph Anthony and Gabriel Spaeth, solemnly blessed
the bells. Father Herman Joseph Peters, O.M.Cap., preached on this occasion.
Shortly after the dedication of the bells it was found that the St. George
Bell had an imperfect tone, hence it was recast by the foundry and blessed
privately by Father Charles before taking its place in the tower.
The work of finishing the interior made steady progress
and all looked forward to the dedication when suddenly a great sorrow came
upon the parish. Mr. Aloysius Frauenheim who had done so much for the
advancement of the new church and of the parish in general, died of a heart
attack on January 18, 1900. His passing deprived St. Augustine's of one of
its most faithful members and the sorrow was general not only in the parish
but in the entire city.
Everywhere he was known as a distinguished Catholic
gentleman, a leader both
(10) A more complete description in St. Aug., July 30, 1930, pp. 134-137;
Beobachter, November 30, 1900.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
in the world of business and culture. Born in Riceville on November 25,
1851, he was the eldest son of Edward and Mary Regina Frauenheim. He was
educated at St. Philomena's school and at St. Vincent's College, Latrobe. He
married Catherine Heyl on November 25, 1874, and the union was blessed with
seven children.(11) His first real employment was in the German National
Bank, then in the Iron City Brewing Company owned by his father, Edward
Frauenheim and Mr. Leopold Vilsack. When the Iron City Brewing Company
became the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, Aloysius was elected president. At
the time of his death he was Vice-President of the German National Bank, of
the Epping-Carpenter Company, and of the German Catholic Press Company,
publishers of the Beobachter and of the Observer. He was also a director of
the Pennsylvania National Bank and of the East End Charity Hospital, a
member of Branch 45 C.M.B.A., and of Branch 5 Knights of St. George and of
the Poor Souls' Society.(12)
Mr. Aloysius Frauenheim was a sterling character. When
the German National Bank was about to close its doors he undertook to save
it from collapse. It was this constant strain and anxiety that undermined
his health and brought on his untimely death. The following is quoted from
the Observer of January 25, 1900:
He was the first to discover the unstable condition of
the German National Bank and labored unceasingly to get the bank's affairs
in such shape that the creditors would not lose their money. Comptroller of
the Currency examined its condition and demanded that the bank building be
purchased before allowing it to resume business, and Mr. A. Frauenheim and
Leopold Vilsack produced the $450,000 demanded within 48 hours.
He was in no way connected with the circumstances that
led to the bank's condition, but he had a keen pride in its stability, as it
had been partly founded by his father, Edward Frauenheim. It is further
related that ten days before his death he resigned as president of the
Pittsburgh Brewing Company and that the directors refused to accept the
resignation but offered him leave of absence with full pay for one year. Mr.
Frauenheim, however, refused to accept the offer on the ground that if he
could not do the work he would not take the pay. While distinguished in many
ways, his outstanding distinction was his heroic Christian charity. "He did
much in the way of private charities, but always shrank from any sort of
publicity in connection with such gifts." His memory will always be blessed.
The funeral of Mr. Frauenheim was one of the largest
ever witnessed in Pittsburgh. One hundred and seventy carriages were in the
procession which arrived at St. Augustine's old church on Butler Street at
10:30. Father Hyacinth Epp, O.M.Cap., rector of St. Alphonsus' Church in
Wheeling, and a friend of the family, officiated at the solemn services.
Fathers Charles Speckert, O.M. Cap., and Didacus Rottlaender, O.M. Cap.,
assisted as deacon and subdeacon and Fathers Raphael Schwarz, O.M. Cap., and
Augustine Noelle, O.M. Cap., were masters of ceremony. In the sanctuary was
the Most Reverend Leo Haid, O.S.B., of Belmont Abbey, North Carolina,
assisted by Fathers Joseph Anthony Ziegelmayer, OM. Cap., Provincial, and
Casimir Elsesser, O.S.B., as deacons of honor.(13) Many other priests of
Pittsburgh and Allegheny and all the local Capuchin Fathers attended the
After the Mass the Most Reverend Leo Haid, O.S.B.,
school companion and friend of the departed, preached the eulogy. In
convincing words he described the deceased as a dutiful husband and father,
as a true friend in whom there was no guile, as a faithful son of the
Church, a conscientious business man, a wise counsellor, a magnanimous
benefactor, a genuine Christian at whose cas-
(11) The Heyls were a prominent family of Lawrenceville. The parents. Martin
Heyl (died October 11, 1886) and Anna Barbara Schlosser (died May 10, 1899).
had the following children: William A. Theodore, Andrew G., Mary, Lawrence
M., Edmund W., Martin, Camillus J., Charles J. William A. Heyl and some of
his brothers became prominent businessmen. The present Eintracht on
Thirty-sixth Street was formerly the Heyl homestead.
(12) Jordan, op. cit., pp. 153-155.
(13) Bishop Leo Haid was born on July 15, 1849, at St. Vincent's (Latrobe),
Pa. Joined the Benedictines in September, 1868. Ordained at St. Vincent's.
December 21, 1872. Consecrated Bishop on July 1, 1888, at Baltimore.
Enzlberger, op. cit., p. 218; Album Benedictinum, p. 240.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
ket all might learn that it is possible to be a real, genuine business
man and at the same time a practical Catholic. At the grave in St. Mary's
Cemetery it was estimated that at least three thousand people had gathered.
Whilst the casket was taken from the hearse, a choir of orphan children from
St. Joseph's Orphanage sang the touching hymn: Im Grabe 1st Ruh. At the
grave the clergy chanted the Benedictus and Bishop Haid pronounced the last
blessing. Whilst the mourners departed, the male choir sang: Suesz und Ruhig
1st der Schlummer.(14)
The new church was dedicated on Sunday, May 12, 1901.
The day was appropriately chosen for it commemorated the dedication of the
Basilica of St. Francis, Founder of the Capuchin Franciscan Order. The Most
Reverend Leo Haid, O.S.B., whose parents had belonged to St. Augustine's for
many years and who was a very special friend of the Frauenheim family,
blessed the church and pontificated. Father Hyacinth, Provincial, assisted
as archpriest, and Fathers J. B. Duffner and J. Otten, C.S.Sp., as deacons
of honor. Fathers S. J. Schramm and Marinus Ferg, O.S.B., were deacons of
the Mass, and Fathers Gerard Bridge, O.S.B., and Patrick Leinsle, O.M.Cap.,
were masters of ceremony.(15) Father Joseph Anthony, pastor of St. Alphonsus
Church, Wheeling, preached the festive sermon. Again the diocesan and
regular clergy headed by Archabbot Leander Schnerr, O.S.B., were well
represented, and it is estimated that several thousand people had assembled
to witness the outdoor ceremonies. In the evening Father Charles officiated
at the solemn Vespers after which Bishop Haid preached in English.
Joyful and triumphant as was the celebration on Sunday,
the leave-taking of the old church on Monday touched the heart with sadness.
For it was on this day that the Blessed Sacrament was solemnly transferred
from the old church to the new. At eight o'clock the parish assembled in the
venerable edifice for a short service of thanksgiving. In few but chosen
words Bishop Haid reminded the people of the many graces and blessings that
had descended upon them in this very church from which they were about to
take leave. Thereupon he took the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle and
bore it in solemn procession to the new church. Father Hyacinth describes
the scene as follows:
It was a beautiful sight. An acolyte with the cross and
two altar boys with candles led the procession. Fifty little boys carried
lilies and fifty little girls strewed flowers in the way. The clergy,
chanting the Pange Lingua, followed the children and then came the
parishioners. On reaching the new church and reposing the Blessed Sacrament
in the tabernacle, Father Charles sang High Mass for the benefactors of the
church. When the procession left the old church her bells tolled a solemn
farewell and hardly had the last tone died away, when the mighty bells of
the new church burst forth in a glorious peal as if they would say: "From
now on we shall call the faithful to church and prayer."(16)
The new St. Augustine's Church is an imposing
structure, and its two stately towers and crowning dome give the impression
of stability and simplicity. Built in the form of a cross and in the
Romanesque style of architecture, it measures 145 feet by 80 feet in the
main body and 94 feet in the transept. The material used is vitrified brick
with terra cotta trimmings. The facade has three grand portals. The tympanum
above the central portal represents Christ the King and Judge of mankind,
with the Blessed Virgin and St. Francis kneeling on either side, pleading
the cause of those entering the church. The base of the transom is adorned
with emblems of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary and of its unbloody renewal
in the sacrifice of the Mass. Above the arch of the center portal is a niche
with a statue twelve feet high representing St. Augustine, the patron of the
Entering the vestibule, we see above the doors leading
to the interior the coat of
(14) St. Aug., February, 1900, pp. 1-4.
(15) Rev. Stephen J. Schramm was born on February 14, 1859, in Pittsburgh.
Ordained May 6, 1882, at St. Vincent's, Pa. Pastor of St. George's Church,
Southside, since 1888. Enzlberger, op. cit., 240.
Rev. Marinus Ferg was born October 26. 1866, at Neustadt, Bavaria. Came to
the United States on October 10, 1882. Joined the Benedictines on July 11,
1888. Ordained March 22, 1890. Curate of St. Mary's, Northside, from
September 16, 1897-1902. At present stationed at Nickton, Pa. Enzlberger,
op. cit., 112.
(16) Hyacinth Epp, Kinderfreund, IX, p. 123.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
arms of the Order of St. Francis, that of Leo XIII and that of Bishop
Phelan. In the vestibule there is on the one side a marble holy water font,
the gift of Mr. Bernard Gloeckler, and on the other the door leading to the
choirloft and to the basement. Entering the church proper, we are surprised
at the revelation of beauty greeting our eyes. Here the architect, the
painter and the sculptor have done their work well. Directly at the entrance
on either side we meet two statues of life-size angels holding vessels of
holy water. These were imported from France and are the gift of Air. William
Baur. The body of the church is divided into three parts by two rows of
fluted columns bearing the clearstory and the dome. Separating the sanctuary
from the body of the church is the altar railing of pure Parvanazzo and
Carrara marble with brass gates; it measures ninety-four feet from wall to
wall. This work of art was donated by Miss Rose Frauenheim in memory of
Father Maurice Greek, O.M.Cap., and of her deceased brother, Aloysius. Their
patron saints, St. Maurice and St. Aloysius, are carved on the pillars of
Carrara marble supporting the center gates of the railing.
The five altars are those of the old church
re-decorated for the new. These altars are masterpieces of their type and
were carved by Brothers Eleutherius, Hilarion and Elzear, Capuchin lay
brothers.(17). All three have long departed this life. The center niche of
the altar is occupied by a statue of St. Augustine; to the right thereof is
a statue of the Archangel Raphael with Tobias; to the left is that of St.
Lawrence. The side altars bear statues of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph,
St. Francis and St. Anthony, respectively.
It is impossible to give here an adequate description
of all that is striking in St. Augustine's Church. However, the frescoes
adorning the walls are worthy of special mention and study. In the middle
section of the sanctuary wall are arches in which are portrayed the great
Latin Fathers of the Church, St. Jerome, St. Gregory the Great and St.
Ambrose. Since a statue of St. Augustine, the fourth Latin Father, adorns
the high altar, the fourth arch is given to St. Albert the Great, now a
Doctor of the Church. The latter was the choice of Miss Emma and Miss
Catherine Wirth who had these paintings done by Arthur Thomas of New York,
in memory of their father, Albert Wirth. Adorning the four great triangles
sloping between the arches and pillars beneath the grand dome are heroic
figures of the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Two of these
paintings were donated by Mr. Michael Letzelter.
In the arches above the side altar niches there were
originally two appropriate mural paintings unfortunately removed at a later
date. The one on the gospel side was the gift of the Third Order and
represented St. Francis receiving the sacred stigmata; the other on the
epistle side, donated by the archconfraternity of Christian Mothers,
portrayed St. Monica kneeling on the sea shore and pleading for her son who
has just left her by the ship in the distance. Christ was represented on
high revealing to the afflicted mother the conversion and future greatness
of her son, St. Augustine.
Truly significant, too, are the two murals on the rear
walls of the side naves. The painting above the baptistry, a memorial to
Peter and George Schott, vividly illustrates the passing of the Old Law and
the acceptance of the New. The blindfolded woman personifies the Jewish
Church which, blindfolded by passion, rejected Christ the Savior. She is
sitting in darkness and laments the ruins of the temple seen in the
background. Her altar is desecrated, her sacrifices rejected, and therefore
the seven-armed candlestick that once shed light at her worship lies
extinguished and useless at her feet. Rejected by Him whom she ignored, the
law of God symbolized by the tables of stone on her arm are a heavy burden.
Opposite the blindfolded woman is the pure spouse of Christ, the Church of
today, receiving wisdom from the lighted torch at her side and also strength
by gathering into a chalice the life-giving blood flowing from Christ on the
cross. The Heavenly Father supports the cross while the Holy Ghost hovers
over all in the form of a dove. Worshipping angels surround the Blessed
(17) Brothers: Eleutherius Guggenbichler died June 18, 1877; Hilarian Busch
died April 22, 1898; Elzear Joerger died in Bavaria on July 1, 1926.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
Very Rev. Hyacinth Epp, First Capucin Pastor, 1874
Father Maurice Greck, Pastor, 1887; Built Present School
Rev. Joseph Anthony Ziegelmayer, Pastor, 1891-1894, 1903-1906,
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
On the opposite side and above
the St. Anthony's chapel is another significant painting, the gift of a
member of the Third Order. The painting illustrates the famous responsory of
St. Bonaventure in honor of St. Anthony. In the lower section of the picture
we see the saint's afflicted clients appealing for help. In the clouds above
we behold St. Anthony with lilies, emblematic of his purity, kneeling in
supplication before the Blessed Mother and her Divine Child. The Divine
Infant looks with pity on the misery below and stretches forth his arms as
though granting the prayers of the Wonder Worker of Padua.
As the new church neared completion there were not
wanting generous benefactors who donated the funds for various memorials.
Among these were especially the Frauenheims who were not only responsible
for the building itself but also solicitous for its interior appointments.
Thus the organ built by the Roosevelt Company of Baltimore in 1884 was
transferred to the new church and greatly improved by Roosevelt's successor,
Adam Stein. The expenses incurred thereby were borne by Mrs. Catherine
Frauenheim in memory of her lamented husband, Aloysius Frauenheim, who had
used that instrument in the old church. The Stations, artistic products of
Mayer and Company of Munich, valued at $1,200.00, were given by Mrs. Mary
Regina Frauenheim. The latter also presented the set of white vestments used
on the day of dedication. They are of the best quality of silk and
masterpieces of embroidery made in Innsbruck at the cost of $2,000. Miss
Rose Frauenheim gave the two imposing candelabra of marble and brass on
either side of the high altar. They were worth $1200. The sedilia is the
gift of Mrs. W. A. Heyl. The chandelier, originally in the dome, and
presented by Messrs. Peter Kerner and Andrew Lackner, was in the form of a
grand star of seven points and composed entirely of Swiss cut-glass
prismatic beads in which were concealed thirty-five electric lights.
The marble altar with its mosaic of St. Anthony in the
St. Anthony Chapel was donated by the Stephen Schultis family. The mosaic
was done in the renowned Art Studio at Venice. The altar railing in St.
Anthony's Chapel is made of onyx and brass and is the gift of Mrs. Margaret
Gruber. One of the reliquaries in this chapel was given by the Reiman
children in memory of their father, Mr. Andrew L. Reiman; the other was
donated by Mrs. Mary Hager. Thus by the contributions of the many, and by
the special gifts of the few, was it possible to erect and equip this
imposing temple of God. "I have loved, 0 Lord, the beauty of thy house; and
the place where thy glory dwelleth." These words of the psalmist find
eloquent expression in the present St. Augustine's Church.(18)
The total income for the new church from January 1,
1899, till January 1, 1902, was $163,209.24, and the total expenditures
during that time were $222,254.27. On January 1, 1902, the total parish debt
was $87,958.46. Since the sum of $28,913.43 was old debt, the erection of
the new church had added just $59,045.03 to the deficit.(19)
As already mentioned, the lion's share of the expenses
for the new church was borne by the Frauenheim family. Grateful for their
heroic charity, the Capuchin Fathers took immediate steps to repay them
spiritually. Due to the recommendation of the local Fathers, the Most
Reverend Bernard Christen of Andermatt, O.M.Cap., Minister General of the
Order, issued a document affiliating to the Capuchin Order Mrs. Mary Regina
Frauenheim and her relatives to the
(18) The description of the new St. Augustine's Church as given here is
taken from Rev. Bernardine Kuhlmann's pamphlet: Dedication Souvenir of St.
Augustine's Church, May 12, 1901, Pittsburgh, pp. 46. Hyacinth Epp,
Kinderfreund, IX, pp. 83-85.
(19) Financial Report, January 1, 1902.
St. Augustine Church Diamond Jubilee
fourth degree. The document bears the date of February 9, 1899.(20)
With the dream of a new church fulfilled, the next task
that Father Charles undertook was the alteration of the old church into a
dramatic hall. "It hurt," says Father Hyacinth, "to profane this house of
God in which the Blessed Savior had dwelt so long; in which the Holy
Sacrifice had been offered, the word of God preached and the sacraments
dispensed. But as there was nothing else to do with it, it was decided to
turn it into a hall since in this capacity, even if remotely, it could still
serve church purposes."(21)
Accordingly, this work was done during August,
September and October of 1901. Part of the tower was removed and the
transepts closed with a wall so that the one became the choir for the friars
and the other a large room for parish purposes. A large stage was erected
and all necessary equipment was installed. Contractor George Nickel did this
work for $7,948.32. The first public gathering in the new hall was on
October 22, 1901, when it was formally dedicated. On this occasion the Rev.
Joseph F. Bauer had the principal address.
During the busy years from 1899-1901— the building
period—Father Charles was active in other ways for the good of the parish.
In the fall of 1899, he founded the St. Augustinus, the monthly church
bulletin which made its first appearance on September 10 of that year and is
still continuing its mission of instructing the parishioners not only in
parochial affairs but also in topics of religion. Father Charles took up a
house collection in 1901 for the benefit of the new church. Two years later
he installed the bowling alleys in the basement of the old hall which later
became the Casino.
On Christmas, 1901, the members of the parish had
additional reason for joy when Father Lewis Centner, a son of the parish,
celebrated his first solemn Mass. Father Peter preached the sermon.
Incidentally we mention here that the first person to be baptised in the new
church was Rose Mary Frauenheim, a grand-daughter of the deceased Mr.
Aloysius Frauenheim. She was born on May 2, 1901, and baptized on May 12,
1901. Father Gregory Autsch, O.M.Cap., officiated. The first mission in the
new church was conducted by the three Jesuits, Fathers Herman Joseph Elskamp,
Aloysius Schuler and Henry Geron. The mission lasted from March 22-April 5.
Father Charles retired from the pastorate of St.
Augustine's in August, 1903, when his brethren elected him to the office of
Provincial. He relinquished this position in August, 1906, and became pastor
of St. Joseph's, Dover, Ohio. In July, 1909, he was transferred to Kansas
where he served as pastor of St. Joseph's, Hays, till July, 1912, when he
retired to Victoria, Kansas. From August, 1917, till his death in 1920, he
lived in the friary at Hays. Ill health prompted him to seek relief in St.
Vincent's Sanitarium at St. Louis, Mo., where he died on March 5, 1920, a
few days after his arrival. His remains were returned to Hays for interment
in the friars' plot of St. Joseph's Cemetery.
Father Charles will be remembered as a mild, pious
character, a zealous pastor of souls and a keen business man. St.
Augustine's Church into whose construction he put his whole soul remains a
worthy monument to his name.
(20) Annals of the Cap. Prov. of Pa. St. Augustine's archives. St. Aug.,
January, 1929, p. 15. It is said that the Frauenheims received a Papal
privilege to retain their affiliation with St. Augustine's Church for four
generations even if they do live in other parishes. Thus Mrs. Catherine Heyl
Frauenheim, wife of Aloysius, was buried from St. Augustine's. She died on
May 31, 1925, and was buried on June 3. Rev. Carl H. Demorest, curate at
Sacred Heart Church where the deceased belonged, sang the Requiem at St.
Augustine's. Likewise, Joseph Aloysius Frauenheim, son of Aloysius, was
buried from St. Augustine's although he belonged to St. Gregory's,
Zelienople. He died on February 11, 1925, and was buried on February 13, the
Rev. James M. Wertz, pastor of St. Gregory's, Zelienople, officiating. Rev.
John Lenhart, informant.
(21) Kinderfreund, IX, p. 123.
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