Interior of Old St. Titus Church
First Communion from Bonnecamp Hill, 1918
First Communion from St. Titus, 1925
Interior of St. Titus Church today
During Monsignor Zauner’s 38-year tenure here at St. Titus, our parish experienced tremendous growth. At one time, St. Titus was the largest parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Among Monsignor Zauner’s many projects were adding a third floor to the parish school in 1951, the building of a new rectory in 1954 and the construction of a new church that was dedicated on Nov. 17, 1956. At some point during his first 24 years as pastor at St. Titus, Father Edward Zauner dreamed of the day his congregation would have a new church that would serve its growing congregation.
That dream was realized on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 17, 1956. That’s when our current church was dedicated in an impressive ceremony witnessed by close to 2,000 persons who crammed their way into the beautiful new building that cost $650,000.
To put that $650,000 figure in perspective, if the current St. Titus church was built today, it would cost roughly $5.3 million. Designed by Aliquippa architect Joseph Bontempo, the new church featured contemporary designs with a seating capacity of 956 in the main nave and 100 more in the choir loft. Among other features at the new church were altars made of imported Italian marble, a massive bell tower and a brilliant set of stained glass windows. In fact, a newspaper report noted that the front facade of the church was highlighted by one of the largest stained glass windows in the entire United States at the time. No one knows for sure exactly when Father Zauner, the St. Titus pastor until his death in 1970, first decided to build a new church. But ground was broken for the new building on. Nov. 28, 1954.
The cornerstone of the new church was celebrated during a ceremony on Aug. 7, 1955. Then at an 11 a.m. Mass on Nov. 17, 1956, the church was dedicated. Over 70 priests attended the ceremony. Eight priests concelebrated Mass, including Bishop John Dearden of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. No less than 18 altar boys also participated. The men’s and boys choir sang the melodic Latin “Regina Pacis” Mass (Queen of Peace). While an estimated 2,000 persons attended the dedication, a few hundred more were unable to gain admission into the new church because it was already filled to capacity.