Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Pittsburgh)

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Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
Kościół Matki Boskiej
View of the church looking east on Brereton Street
Location within the City of Pittsburgh
General information
Type Parish church
Architectural style Polish Cathedral style
Address 3058 Brereton Avenue
Town or city Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Country United States
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Construction started July 31, 1904
Inaugurated December 3, 1905
Design and construction
Architect William P. Ginther[1]
Designated 1970[2]

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Pittsburgh, referred to in Polish as Kościół Matki Boskiej, is a historic church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, one of the city's oldest and largest churches.[3] Located on Polish Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it is a prime example of the so-called 'Polish Cathedral' style of churches in both its opulence and grand scale.


Immaculate Heart of Mary was founded in 1897 as a Polish ethnic parish.[4] Beginning in 1885, Polish immigrants began settling on Herron Hill in Pittsburgh. Eventually so many immigrants settled there that the area was renamed Polish Hill. At first, the residents attended St. Stanislaus parish in the Strip District, but by 1895, the population of Polish Hill grew to the point that a committee of local citizens petitioned the bishop for their own parish.[4] Permission was granted and the cornerstone of a combined church, school, and convent was laid in October 1896.[4] The completed building was dedicated in August 1897.

The first floor of the building served as a school and the second floor served as the church. In 1899, the parish purchased land for a larger church. A prolific Akron, Ohio, architect William P. Ginther who specialized in ecclesiastical buildings[5] designed the new structure, which was awarded a Pittsburgh Historic Landmark designation. The cornerstone was laid on July 31, 1904,[4] and the completed church was dedicated on December 3, 1905. Like a number of other Polish churches in the so-called Polish Cathedral style such as St. Mary of the Angels in Chicago or St. Josaphat's Basilica in Milwaukee, the architectural plans for the church were intentionally modeled on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. This church still serves the community of Polish Hill today.

This parish was the first in the United States of America to have the Divine Mercy Novena.[4] They continue to have the novena and to have a very large celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday immediately after Easter Sunday.



  1. "Historic Landmark Plaques: 1968–2009" (PDF). Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. p. 3. Retrieved July 21, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009 (PDF). Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. No Author Listed. "A History of Polish Hill and the PHCA". Retrieved 2006-12-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Parish History". Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Retrieved July 20, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Unsung Hero of Architecture". External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>