St. John Neumann Parish

Who We Are

St. John Neumann
Parish History

Saint John Neumann Parish was established on July 2, 1979 as the 321st parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh to serve the families of Franklin Park and surrounding areas. Fr. William R Bovard was appointed pastor and 356 families joined the new parish.

The first mass in the parish was celebrated on July 8, 1979, at the Franklin Park Fire Hall. Early masses were also held at Heritage United Presbyterian Church on Rochester Road.

On September 13, 1981, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new church took place on the property at 2230 Rochester Road. Bishop Vincent Leonard dedicated St John Neumann Church in May of 1982.

Early in 1994, registration was at its peak with 1400 families registered at St. John Neumann. On February 12, 1994 the new parish of Sts. John and Paul was established in Wexford, and as a result of redistricting, about 300 SJN families became members of this new parish. Since 1994, parish growth has almost offset the effects of redistricting with registered families now numbering about 1400.

In 2006, new space was added to our church complex, including specially designed atrium space for our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd; a Parish Hall (later named “Bovard Hall” in honor of our founding pastor); a choir room; a youth room; several meeting rooms and staff offices. The additional space helps us to cultivate our faith and provide for the needs of a growing parish.

St. John Neumann
Our Patron Saint

Saint John Neumann, as a student in Bohemia, yearned to be a foreign missionary in far-away America. Ordained in 1836 by the Bishop of New York, he trudged the Niagara frontier for four winters. He built churches, established schools, and was loved by children everywhere.

In 1840, he became the first American immigrant to join the Redemptorist order of priests. His work brought him to Pittsburgh, where he established St. Philomena Parish in the Strip District (later moved to Squirrel Hill). He also traveled through the woods and farms of the North Hills of Pittsburgh, visiting and catechizing German-speaking families and baptizing children, including at St. Alphonsus Parish in Wexford.

In 1850, by order of Pope Pius IX, he was consecrated fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. He traveled his vast diocese by canal boat, stagecoach, railway, on horse-back and on foot.

Master of eight languages, he found use for them all in his quest for souls. He was a pioneer promoter of the parochial school system. He was first in America to establish a diocesan schedule of the Forty Hours. He invited several religious orders to his diocese, befriending them with his kindness.

At forty-eight, worn out from his apostolic endeavor, he dropped dead in the street. His remains now repose in the crypt of St. Peter’s at Fifth and Girard in Philadelphia. When Benedict XV declared his virtue heroic, he remarked: "You are all bound to imitate Venerable Neumann."