Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish History
On April 16, 1893, a small group of Catholics from the then St. Joseph Church met to organize a Slovak parish in Mount Pleasant. They purchased a plot of land on Walnut Street near Eagle Street on which to build, and appointed members to solicit the surrounding areas.
In November of the same year, the first Mass was celebrated in Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. In 1898, a cemetery was established on four acres on South Diamond Street.
In 1901, a rectory was erected at the northwest corner of Eagle and Walnut Streets adjacent to the church. The parish school was started with the first classes held in the basement of the church, and the lot abutting the church on the east was purchased as the site for a future school. In 1904, the Methodist Episcopal Church parsonage was converted into a parish school.
The present brick school was completed in 1908. The two-and-a-half story building included an apartment complex above the classrooms and an auditorium.
On January 3, 1915, a fire destroyed the church and gutted the adjacent school building. A new, larger, brick church was erected on the original site and dedicated July 2, 1916. A grotto was added to the church in 1921, and the interior was completed in 1923.
From 1958 to 1962 the parish complex was remodeled. Additional land was also purchased to expand the cemetery in 1964. A new organ was installed in 1968 and the church was refurbished in 1971. During the late 1970’s a school cafeteria and a parking lot were added.
In 2002, the church underwent many renovation projects, which included the repointing of the church building, installation of a new sidewalk along Eagle Street and the construction of a new choir loft railing.
In fall 2002, the third Catholic church in the borough of Mount Pleasant, Transfiguration Church, was condemned due to structural problems. In the following year, the parish was closed and a number of parishioners chose to become members of Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. At that time, the statue of the Blessed Mother was brought from Transfiguration Church to Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church and then placed in the entrance area of the church.
In 2008, Father Richard J. Kosisko became administrator of the parish community, which currently numbers 637 families.
Thanks to the conscientious efforts of the past and present pastors and untiring parishioners, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish has progressed from its humble beginnings to its present role in the Mount Pleasant community.