Some facts about our beautiful church
St. Rosalia Church was built in 1923 in the Romanesque style. The building appears in a book of unique architecture of Pittsburgh because it is a large cavernous room supported by arches, not pillars that are used in similar structures of this type. The former main altar, the two side altars, and the sanctuary floor are made of fine Italian marble. The church seats 700 people.
The marble statues at the side altars are familiar to all: the Virgin Mary on the left, St. Joseph with the Child Jesus on the right and the Sacred Heart to the left of St. Joseph. The two angels adorning the former main altar portray different types of prayer: the angel on the left expresses contrition and supplication while the one on the right expresses adoration and thanksgiving. The only colorful statue that adorns the sanctuary is that of our patron saint.
In 1993, the three piece marble baptismal font was moved into the sanctuary near the altar of the Blessed Mother.
THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
According to parish legend, the Stations of the Cross came from Germany. The pictures are painted on sheets of metal believed to be tin. Each station is framed in a simple carved design in wood. The main characters are depicted in the garments at the time of Jesus; other characters are shown with clothing more suitable to the medieval era.
Most of the stained glass windows are self-explanatory.
Those on the left side of the main altar depict:
- The Adoration of the Shepherds at the Nativity of Jesus (Luke 2)
- The Good Shepherd (John 10)
- St. John the Evangelist
- St. Rosalia
- Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 3:41-52)
- The Rich Young Man (Mark 10:17-22)
- The Samaritan Woman at the Well (Luke 4:4-25)
Those on the right side of the main altar depict:
- The Last Supper with Judas, Jesus, and John (John 14:18-31)
- The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
- St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland. Perhaps this saint was chosen because at its beginning, the parish was predominately Irish.
- St. Scholastica, the twin sister of St. Benedict and the foundress of the Benedictine Sisters.
- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation Sister.
- The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
- Jesus Blessing the Children (Matthew 19:13-15)
High above the sanctuary are four windows of the Evangelists. Each window depicts a portrait of the saint as well as his symbol.
- Matthew is called the divine man, since he teaches about the human nature of Christ and since his version of the Gospel begins with Jesus’ paternal genealogy.
- Mark is called the winged lion, since he informs us of the royal dignity of Christ and since his version of the Gospel begins: “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness,” suggests the roar of a lion.
- Luke is called the winged ox, since he deals with the sacrificial aspects of Christ’s life and since his version of the Gospel begins with a temple scene.
- John is called the rising eagle, since his gaze pierces so far into the mysteries of heaven and since his version of the Gospel begins with a lofty prologue that is a poem of the Word become flesh.
All of the paintings were initially painted on a canvas material then placed on the walls and ceiling. The central painting on the rear wall of the sanctuary is the Crucifixion of Jesus. At the time the church was built, the theology of the day emphasized the sacrificial reality of the Holy Mass. The paintings on the ceiling of the church beginning from the sanctuary are
- St. John the Baptist
- St. Joseph
- St. Aloysius, the patron saint of youth, in particular altar servers and students
- The Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Patroness of the United States of America
- St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Mother and the wife of St. Joachim
- St. Therese of the Child Jesus (also known as the Little Flower), patroness of missionaries.
- St. Cecelia, located near the choir loft is the patroness of musicians, organ makers, and singers.
Under the watchful eyes of St. Cecelia, the church’s Balboni pipe organ humbly rises to the heavens, symbolic of its purpose. This great musical instrument, original to the building, was constructed in Italy and carefully shipped to its final destination. It is a three manual, 30 rank organ which was restored in 2001.