Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Parish
Monaca, Pennsylvania

Parish History
Before 1888, those of Catholic faith in Monaca (then called Phillipsburg) had to make their way to Rochester or Beaver, PA to attend Mass. To better serve these people of faith, St. John the Baptist was founded and work was begun on a church in the autumn of 1888. The church was a mission of St. Cecilia Parish in Rochester, PA until 1891, when the first resident pastor was assigned to the parish in August of that year. The parish had a resident pastor until 1900. It then became a mission church of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Beaver, PA. Finally in 1907, the mission parish of St. John the Baptist was again assigned a resident pastor.

Construction of the first church
began in the Fall of 1888.
(Photo: St. John Parish Archive)


The second church, formerly the Lyceum,
was converted in May of 1913.
(Photo: Diocesan Archive)

The first church building served the congregation until 1913. With the areas growth in population, the existing structure was too small to meet the needs of the congregation. The parish Lyceum, which had been built in 1910, was converted into a church and dedicated on August 3, 1913. This second church eventually proved inadequate as well regarding space. Meanwhile, in the early 1920s land was purchased for use as a parish cemetery. Then on May 4, 1930, the cornerstone for a larger church was laid; on May 30, 1932, the new church was dedicated. Designed under the guidance of Father John Canova, this beautiful structure, built for the glory of God, continues to serve the congregation of the parish.

The cornerstone for the third and present day church was laid on May 4, 1930.
The church was dedicated on May 30, 1932.
(Photo: Diocesan Archive)

As the parish continued to grow and flourish, a cornerstone was laid in 1951 for a school to be built next to the church through the hard work and sacrifice of the parishioners and the determination of Monsignor Emilio Farri. The initial competed structure was blessed on April 12, 1953.

The cornerstone for the parish school was laid in 1951.
The building was blessed on April 12, 1953.

A new wing was built onto the school in 1960 and bears the name Msgr. Farri Hall. At the time of the addition, the wing contained four classrooms, a gymnasium and bowling alley.
It was by the efforts of Msgr. Farri that the Sisters of Divine Providence came to fill the role of teaching staff at the fledgeling school. A convent, which once stood on the corner of Virginia Avenue and 15th Street, was built in 1957 for their residence.

This dedicated order of sisters staffed the school from 1951 through the 1990s. The parish community is deeply thankful for their years of service. With the departure of the sisters, the school was then totally staffed by lay teachers and personnel from throughout the area who would teach and perform the many administrative/staff duties.

Due to declining enrollment and mounting financial concerns, and with diocesan permission granted, on June 30, 2014 kindergarten thru grade 8 at St. John the Baptist School came to a close. This was followed by the cessation of St. John the Baptist Preschool in July of 2017. The parish is sincerely grateful for the tremendous dedication of all the teachers and staff members of St. John the Baptist School throughout its history.

With vision for the future, in the Summer of 2014 the parish school was remodeled and assigned new purpose. Rededicated with the title of
St. John the Baptist Pastoral Center, the building houses the parish offices, Faith Formation Center, CCD School of Religion, and Monsignor Farri Hall as well as the parish St. Vincent dePaul Society.

The Parish of St. John the Baptist rejoices and give thanks in its nearly 130 years as a community of faith.