The Queen of Heaven, and the Founding of ISDA

Aug 17, 2022 710

BY: Eugene Gino Mahofski

A number of Italian immigrants arrived in the uptown section of Pittsburgh in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were mostly Sicilians and Abruzzi. Work became available on the Northside of Pittsburgh. Hundreds of Italian families moved into Manchester, and other Northside neighborhoods. Ethnic churches sprang up all around Pittsburgh. A need for an Italian church became “prima di tutto.”

Father John O’Connell, pastor of the Irish St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, provided the basement below the pews to Italians who did not yet have a church. And thus, the story of Regina Coeli Church took shape. Father Raphael Guglielmotti was appointed as the first pastor and leader of the Northside Italian Catholic community. On May 27, 1906, Father Raphael opened his mission on Juniata Street.

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