Father Jerome G. Botsko
3120 West Crawford AvenueLeisenring, PA. 15425 Get Directions
In 1892 Father Alexander Dzubay came to the Leisenring area from Wilkes-Barre to assist the people in forming a church where they could worship in their Byzantine Catholic tradition. A committee of twelve was selected to investigate plans and solicit funds for building a church. The committee contacted various businesses, including the H.C. Frick Coke Co. in Scottdale, and made a house-to-house campaign to solicit funds. During this time, liturgical services were held in the home of one of the members.
After much hard and diligent work, they obtained sufficient funds to begin construction of the church. The Frick Coke Co. donated 12 acres of land and made a monthly donation of $25. The church was completed in 1892 and served the faithful in all the communities of Fayette and Westmoreland Counties. Since there was no public transportation at this time, the faithful walked many miles to church from these areas. In 1896, the church rectory was built with the active participation of the congregation.
In the following years, the people prospered and built their own Byzantine Catholic churches in surrounding communities — Charleroi, Monessen, Uniontown, Perryopolis, New Salem, Brownsville, Scottdale, and Trauger (Latrobe). St. Stephen Church is proud to be the forerunner of these parishes.
The social hall was built in 1916 to house the cantor, provide a location for social activities, and classroom space for religious education. Organizations such as the Holy Name Society and Junior and Young Ladies Sodalities were formed. A number of Greek Catholic Union lodges with their fraternal activities also were formed.
In 1962 the church was renovated for its 70th Anniversary. Interior remodeling included a new marble altar, new sacristy, and a completely new interior design and furnishings. Exterior remodeling included eliminating the peaked towers and facing the brick in stone.
A new rectory was built in 1967 for the 75th Anniversary. With the Sodalities no longer active, a Ladies’ Guild was formed for social activity and to help with the upkeep of the church property. In 1981 the hall, in a state of grave disrepair, was demolished because of high insurance and maintenance costs.
Once again, the church was renovated in 1990 in anticipation of the 100th Anniversary. Three “onion” domes were placed on the roof, a side entrance for wheelchairs was added, and a large vestibule was added to the front of the church. A large outdoor deck was built for festivals and entertainment. The interior of the church was completely remodeled with a new icon screen, icons, new lights and carpeting.
With the grace of God, St. Stephen Byzantine Catholic Church will continue to prosper.