New personal parish for black Catholic community will be established in Pittsburgh

People march through Hill District to mark Juneteenth

PITTSBURGH — Bishop David Zubik announced Friday that there will be a new parish in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, and it’s one that will specifically serve the black Catholic community.

Following a listening session Feb. 23, the diocese started plans to develop a personal parish, which serves specific spiritual needs often related to a particular culture or an extraordinary need.

On July 13, Saint Benedict the Moor Parish will officially fulfill that need.

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The church already exists in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood, but when Zubik visited earlier this year, parishioners told him about their 130-year history that allowed them to minister to black Catholics while also navigating the same systems of disadvantages that black Americans faced in the Pittsburgh region, the nation and the Catholic Church.  

“Along with their sincere enthusiasm and passion for their Catholic faith, I heard and felt their desire to have their unique spiritual and cultural needs met,” Zubik said.  “I want to raise awareness of the need to walk with our black sisters and brothers as they continue to enrich and be an integral part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Catholic Church Universal.”

A task force put together a proposal, stating: “This is not a call for separatism but instead for a pledge of commitment to the Church and to share in her witnessing to the love of Christ.” 

Clergy assignments for the new parish will be announced later.

Unless there are any further restrictions due to COVID-19, Zubik will celebrate Mass there on July 12.