We of St. Edward are a large parish family, diverse in age, community and background. We are united by a shared Catholic faith, offering hospitality and spiritual growth. Our baptismal commitment is continually renewed by living and proclaiming the word of God, through our celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. The proclaiming of our faith is found in our example and participation in the world. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we strive to grow in Christ during our journey of a lifetime.
The history of St. Edward Parish originates with Our Lady of Victory Parish in New Madison (present day Darragh), PA. On January 3, 1893, Bishop Richard Phelan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh appointed Father James Joseph McDonnell as the first pastor. The coal industry was a thriving business at that time in the area and the people of Sewickley and the surrounding townships attended the New Madison parish.
During the pastorate of Father Paonessa, a mission church was established in Herminie and given the name of St. Edward. Mass was celebrated in a rented building until a church was built on Sewickley Avenue. The first recorded baptism at St. Edward Parish was January 11, 1920.
Father Edward Kelly succeeded Father Paonessa as pastor of Our Lady of Victory. During his pastorate, both the church and rectory were destroyed by fire December 17, 1934. The congregation then began to attend church at its mission parish St. Edward.
During this time, Father Weaver, Father Michael Dravecky and Benedictine priests from Saint Vincent Archabbery in Latrobe assisted Father Kelly in the administration of the parish.
At the death of Father Kelly in 1946, Father Martin O’Toole was appointed pastor. He remodeled the interior of the church and built a rectory. During his pastorate, Westmoreland County was made a part of the newly established Greensburg diocese in 1952.
In July 1953, Father Albert Ackerman was appointed pastor. He purchased 9.5 acres of ground on the Herminie-Madison Road to be used for a school, convent, rectory and new church. The parish numbered at nearly 800 families.
To assist the pastor, the first resident assistant, Father William Coleman, was appointed in 1956. Other assistants who served the parish community included Father Edward Boley (1957), Father Michael Bienia (1958) and Father Alexander Pleban (1959).
In 1957, the school and convent were built. Four Sisters of Charity were assigned to live at the convent and opened the school with the first four grade levels in September 1957.
In January 1964, Father Charles Kobylarz was named pastor to complete the new St. Edward Parish complex. The beautiful present day church was built for a cost of $750,000 and dedicated in 1967.
During the pastorate of Father Kobylarz, the parish was also served by Fathers Pleban, Joseph Daugerdas (1966), Angelo Ciuffoletti (1968), Dennis Sheehy (1973), and George Alderson (1976).
After the death of Father Kobylarz, Father Pleban was named pastor in 1982. Father Lawrence Manchas served as pastor beginning in 1994, followed by Father Thomas Trupkovich in 2003. Father John Harrold was named pastor in 2007, followed by Father Francisco Gan, Jr. in 2015. Father Joseph Bonafed was named pastor in 2017. Father Richard Ulam, O.S.B. was named Administrator pro tem in August, 2018 and Administrator in October, 2019. Father Vincent A. Yee Concepcion was named pastor in June, 2021.
Serving the parish in recent years as parochial vicars have been Fathers George Alderson, Chester Raimer (1983), Terry Hercik (1986), Mark Purnell (1991), Anthony Ditto (1993), Edward Lewis (1997), and Anthony Carbone (1998).
In 1988, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit came to live at the convent and to administer to the parish school and other religious programs. The sisters served the parish until August 2004 when the parish school was closed. In August 2005, Northwestern Human Services began to rent part of the school to run a School of Autism. By 2007, they were renting the entire building as the demand for this school continued to grow.
In 2008, the church sound system was replaced and updated. In 2009, the church bell carillon was replaced and also updated. In 2010, the lighting in the church was improved and many of the main fixtures were replaced. In 2018 Edwardian Hall and the parish school building was renovated.
The parish census continues to report that we have nearly 650 registered families. The parish family is a “melting pot” that includes many various ethnic backgrounds. Today, the parish covers a nearly 25 square mile area and serves the people of Herminie, Rillton, Arona, Darragh, Hutchinson, Madison, Wendel, Herminie #2, Rolling Hills, Greenridge, West Hempfield, Linmore Acres, Renaissance, other parts of Sewickley and Hempfield Townships and the R.D. areas of New Stanton, West Newton, Irwin and Greensburg.
St. Edward, patron of difficult marriages, separated spouses, English royal family and kings
Died: January 5, 1066
Canonized: By Alexander III October 13, 1161
Feast day: October 13
St. Edward was the son of Ethelred II and Emma, daughter of Duke Richard of Normandy. When barely ten years old, he was sent with his brother, Alfred, into Normandy to be brought up at the court of the duke, his uncle. The Danes, under Sweyn and his son, Canute, gained the mastery in England. After the death of Ethelred, Emma married Canute and he became King of England.
Thus Edward spent the best years of his life in exile, the crown having been settled by Canute, with Emma’s consent, upon his own offspring by her. Early misfortune thus taught Edward the folly of ambition, and he grew up in innocence, delighting chiefly in assisting at Mass and the church offices, and in association with religious.
Upon Canute’s death in 1035 his illegitimate son, Harold, seized the throne and Edward and his brother Alfred were persuaded to make an attempt to gain the crown, which resulted in the cruel death of Alfred who had fallen into Harold’s hands, whilst Edward was obliged to return to Normandy.
In 1042, upon the death of the king, Edward was called by acclamation to the throne at the age of about 40, being welcomed even by the Danish settlers owing to his gentle saintly character. His reign was one of almost unbroken peace; the threatened invasion of Canute’s son, Sweyn of Norway, was averted by the opportune attack on him by Sweyn of Denmark, and the internal difficulties occasioned by the ambition of Earl Godwin and his sons were settled without bloodshed by Edward’s own gentleness and prudence.
He undertook no wars except to repel an inroad of the Welsh, and to assist Malcolm III of Scotland against Macbeth, the usurper of his throne. Being devoid of personal ambition, Edward’s one aim was the welfare of his people. He remitted the odious taxes; though profuse in alms to the poor and for religious purposes, he made his own royal patrimony suffice without imposing taxes. Such was the contentment caused by “the good St. Edward’s laws,” that their enactment was repeatedly demanded by later generations when they felt themselves oppressed.
Yielding to the entreaty of his nobles, he accepted as his consort the virtuous Editha, Earl Godwin’s daughter. Having, however, made a vow of chastity, he first required her agreement to live with him only as a sister. As he could not leave his kingdom without injury to his people, the making of a pilgrimage to St. Peter’s tomb, to which he had bound himself, was commuted by the pope into the rebuilding at Westminster of St. Peter’s abbey. The dedication took place a week before his death. He was buried there. St. Edward was reported to have the power to heal by touch. He was canonized by Alexander III on October 13, 1161.