the side altars. After the Mass Father
Joseph preached the eulogy and Bishop Canevin pronounced the
absolution. A choir of twenty Capuchins rendered the Gregorian Chant in
The large attendance of clergy and laity attested the esteem in
which Father Hyacinth was held. Besides the Most Rev. Regis Canevin,
Bishop of Pittsburgh, there were present: the Right Rev. Leander
Schnerr, O.S.B., then Archabbot of St. Vincent's, Latrobe, Pa.; the
Right Rev. F. L. Tobin; the Right Rev. M. Kittel, and fifty-four other
priests including representatives of the various religious Orders. Many
priests were prevented from attending owing to the annual clergy
In his sermon Father Joseph gave a graphic description of the
life of Father Hyacinth, stressing especially his work as founder of
the Province, his zeal as a religious priest working for the salvation
of souls, his affability and kindness as a confrere. He said in part:
But a few days ago the Capuchin
Province of Pennsylvania commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of
its independent existence, and today we stand sorrowing at the grave of
its founder and father. With him we lay to rest the last of the three
pioneers who came to this country thirty-four years ago and laid the
foundation of the Pennsylvania Province. Today we are bereft of our
strongest support, our wisest and most experienced counsellor. Our
strongest pillar is broken. With Father Hyacinth's death the first
volume of our history is closed.
Referring to his work at St. Augustine's, he continued:
For St. Augustine's his loss is
especially keen and sad. Here was the cradle of our Province, for here
Father Hyacinth began his blessed ministry in the new world, and here
amidst many a trial he won the esteem and affection not only of the
members of this parish but also of the German Catholics in general.
Here, too, he spent most of his. years in the service of God, in the
vineyard of the Lord. From the pulpit of the old church his unctuous
words most frequently resounded, words that moved the sinner, consoled
the sorrowing and encouraged the despairing. Many of my hearers will
find it difficult to realize that this venerable priest will no more go
daily to the altar to offer the sacrifice; that his convincing words
will no more be heard from the pulpit, and that another will have his
place in the confessional.
The speaker concluded his discourse with an appeal for prayers
and a touching apostrophe to the departed:
Rest in peace, wise Teacher and Guide of my youth. Farewell,
faithful Friend and Father.(8)
Father Hyacinth was buried in St. Augustine's Cemetery in the
plot reserved for the Capuchin friars. While the funeral procession
passed the convent grounds of Mount Alvernia in Millvale, the
motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters whose spiritual adviser the
departed had been, the little convent bell tolled a sad farewell. At
the grave the Capuchin choir chanted the Benedictus while the casket
was lowered into its last resting place beneath the great cross.
In the pastorate of Father Agatho the Most Reverend Bishop
Canevin came again for a Third Order meeting on September 17, 1908.(9)
The occasion was the jubilee of the Holy Father, Pope Pius X. The
Bishop assisted at Mass and addressed the fraternity. From January
26-29, 1908, Father Agatho also arranged for a retreat for the young
men. Two of the evening sermons were preached by the late Right
Reverend W. McMullen, Vicar General (died 1938), and one sermon by
Father Cyril Meis, C.P., and one by Father Agatho.
When Father Agatho retired from office in August, 1909, he had
reduced the debt by $13,458.15. There still remained a debt of
The successor of Father Agatho was Father Ignatius Weisbruch,
O.M.Cap. Born in Peoria, 111., on October 1, 1875, he entered the
Capuchin Order in 1893 and was ordained priest on June 21, 1899.
Previous to his appointment as pastor of St. Augustine's, he had been
stationed twice at Pittsburgh, once as curate and then as lector of
theology to the student priests. He had also spent some years at
Herman, first as professor, then as guardian and pastor.
, IX, pp.
181-183, has a description of the solemn obsequies.
(8) "Trauerrede bei der Begraebniszfeier," by Very Rev. Joseph Anthony
Ziegelmayer, O.M.Cap. Kinderfreund
(9) Rev. Cyprian Gehrling, O.M.Cap.,
Kurze Geschichte des . . . Dritt-Ordens-Zweiges
, pp. 8, 9.
Father Ignatius introduced the twelve Sunday devotions in honor
of the Immaculate Conception in 1909. The next year he inaugurated and
directed the Holy Name Society in the parish at large and among the
boys in each of the grades in school. The mission which he arranged
from December 31, 1911-January 14, 1912, was preached by the Jesuit
Fathers: Herman Joseph Elskamp, John Spirig and Henry Jordans. The
mission was exceptionally well attended, especially by the men. The St. Augustinus
gives an edifying
picture of the missionaries addressing three assemblies at the same
time—one in the hall where more than 450 unmarried men had assembled
for the English sermon, another in the Casino hall where over 200
attended the German sermon, and a third in the church where a large
crowd of married men had gathered.(10)
Recognizing the necessity of uniting Catholics against the
threatening dangers of socialism, the pastor introduced in 1911 a new
society called the Volksverein
Germany in 1890 by the celebrated leader of the Catholic
Center Party, Ludwig von Windthorst, its purpose was to promote social
justice and to counteract the communistic activities. About this time
had found its
way into many German parishes of Pittsburgh and accomplished untold
good by uniting the Catholics, both men and women, young and old, and
keeping them informed regarding dangerous legislation, unworthy
candidates for public office and in general promoting social justice
and what we today call Catholic Action.(11)
In the material order Father Ignatius installed steam-heating in
the Casino, frescoed the convent chapel and built a substantial shelter
house in the cemetery. Through the generosity of Branch 103 of the
L.C.B.A., new desks were placed in the commercial class rooms. Over and
above these improvements, Father Ignatius has the distinction of having
wiped out the last vestige of debt on the church by paying within the
three years of his pastorate $22,607.08. Announcing this welcome news
in the St. Augustinus
"Let us on this occasion give thanks to God for his goodness and
Providence in protecting us against misfortune and in preserving in the
members of this parish the spirit of cheerful sacrifice."(12)
Among the outstanding events of this pastorate we record the
following: From July 10-12, 1910, the Seventeenth Annual Convention of
the German Staatsverband assembled at St. Augustine's. Most Reverend J.
M. Koudelka, Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland, sang Pontifical Mass at ten
o'clock and the Reverend John M. Seimetz of Catasauqua delivered the
sermon. The Most Reverend Regis Canevin presided.(13)
In this pastorate the following sons of the parish sang their
first solemn Masses: Father Gregory Loebach, O.M.Cap., on June 26,
1910; Father Thomas, O.M.Cap., preached; Father Albert Bliss, O.M.Cap.,
on July 2, 1911; Father Agatho, O.M.Cap., preached; Father Albert
Bliss, O.M.Cap., on June 23, 1912; Father Godhardt, O.M.Cap., preached;
Father Martin Fuchs, O.M.Cap., on June 30, 1912; Father Cassian
On December 29, 1910, Father Lawrence Beck, O.M.Cap., celebrated
the silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood. On the same
occasion Sister Mary Agatha, Sister of the Reverend Jubilarian,
commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of her entrance into the
community of Divine Providence. At the solemn Mass Father Joseph
Anthony Ziegelmayer, O.M.Cap., assisted the Reverend Jubilarian as
archpriest; Father John B. Haeckler, pastor of St. Henry's Church,
Pittsburgh, was deacon, and Father Aloysius Kausler, O.M.Cap., of
Cumberland, Md., was subdeacon. Father Charles Steppling, pastor of St.
Basil's Church, Carrick, and Father Cassian Haitl, O.M.Cap., were
masters of ceremonies. Father Cassian also preached the sermon. Since
Father Lawrence was the first Capuchin product of St. Fidelis Seminary,
the alumni of this institution joined the Beck family in a grand
(10) Jan., 1912, p. 8.
(11) Der Volksverein
and German Editions, Brooklyn, 1915.
(12) July 1912 p. 8.
(13) Report on this convention bears the title: Seventeenth Convention of the
Staatsverband at St. Augustine's Hall Pittsburgh 1910
both the Mass and at the banquet in St. Augustine's hall.(14)
On February 5, 1911, the Most Reverend Regis Canevin came to St.
Augustine's to conduct the canonical visitation. In the afternoon he
inspected the church and sacristy whereupon he went to the rectory to
view the books and sign them. In the evening the Holy Name Society
escorted the Bishop to the church where he preached and gave
benediction. The writer in the St.
remarks that this was the first time the parish ever
had the canonical visitation.(15)
Father Ignatius retired from the pastorate in July, 1912. Since
then he has been active in parochial work in Wheeling, New
Philadelphia, Ohio, and in several parishes in Kansas. From July,
1915-July, 1918, he held the office of Provincial and again in August,
1936, which office he holds at present.
The next two pastors of St. Augustine's held the office but for
a short time. Father Richard Dei, O.M.Cap., succeeded Father Ignatius,
but ill health forced him to resign in October, three months after his
appointment. His successor was Father Mark Haas, O.M.Cap., a son of the
parish. In his brief pastorate of one month he introduced the Holy Hour
of reparation on Thursday evenings. But he, too, was unwell and finding
the burden too heavy resigned in November. The choice then fell on a
former incumbent whose name was a household word among the people,
Father Joseph Anthony Ziegelmayer, O.M.Cap.
One of his first moves as pastor was to set up a pamphlet rack
in the vestibule of the church in order to give the people ample
opportunity to keep themselves informed on religious and social topics.
In 1913, he made a parish visitation and collected $3,214.00 for
defraying the expenses of renovating the church. The walls and ceiling
were frescoed, the altars and statutes painted and the pews varnished
for the sum of $5,800.00. The organ received a new bellows and an
electric motor for $350.00. After the renovation of the church Father
Joseph undertook the restoration of the school. For this purpose he
started a collection which was to run over a period of several months.
To the pastor's disappointment, the collection was not popular and
netted only $174.50. This indifference of the people toward their
school drew from Father Joseph the following bitter remarks:
It is superfluous to make any
remarks on the results of the school collection. Everyone can measure
for himself the interest of the parish in the school even after the
school fee and monthly collection have been abolished. It is difficult
to write about this matter without becoming bitter. They on!y can
appreciate the blessings of the parochial school who have never enjoyed
them. Ingratitude is one of the worst vices, and they are guilty of it
who themselves have been trained in the Catholic school, and allow
their children to be trained therein but who make no sacrifice for
On another occasion the old pastor gave vent to his feelings as
he contemplated the changes in the parish and in its spirit. He
This month (November, 1913) it
is forty years since the Capuchins came to Lawrenceville and to St.
Augustine's. How many, or rather, how few can still remember
Thirty-seventh Street as it was in those days! Will the changes of the
next forty years be so marked? Hardly. The older a city, the slower the
changes. Even St. Augustine's parish has seen its best days. It is
going backward rather than forward. For several years the number of
baptisms has decreased, the number of children is less, the spirit of
sacrifice is notably declining, the good, old-fashioned members are
dying out and the younger generation does not possess the same spirit
of generosity for the church and the school. Don't say: "The pastor
must have had the 'blues' when he wrote this." Not at all. True, this
is bleak November weather as he writes these lines; but he knew this
parish for about forty years; he knows it today, and therefore he knows
what he writes. He feels sure, too, that all the older members of the
parish will agree with him.
These thoughts have strayed into my mind as I tried to reckon
how many Indian heads would be necessary to put a copper roof on both
Doubtless, the allusion to the Indian heads refers to the
predominance of copper pennies in the collection basket. In 1915,
however toward the close of his third term as pastor Father Joseph was
made happy by the suc-
(14) St. Aug.
, Jan., 1911,
(15) Feb., 1911. p. 8.
(16) St. Aug.
, Sept., 1914,
, Nov., 1913, p. 8.
cessful collection of gold and silver for a beautiful chalice and
ciborium to commemorate the golden jubilee of the foundation of the
parish. Taking the year 1860 as the beginning of organization, the year
1910 marked the fiftieth year. In an appeal entitled: "Better Late than
Never", the pastor reminded the parishioners of the significant date
already passed and suggested that they still commemorate it by
presenting a jubilee chalice to the church. Instead of asking money,
the pastor requested each member to make a personal sacrifice of
jewelry, gold or silver, new or old, and present it for the making of a
chalice. The result was so gratifying that enough gold and silver were
collected for a chalice, paten and ciborium. The vessels were made by
W. J. Feeley Company, Goldsmiths of Providence, R.I., and are
masterpieces of gold studded with precious stones. The chalice bears
the inscription: "Jubilee Gift of St. Augustine's Parish to its
Church." The chalice was used for the first time on the first Sunday of
October, 1915, at the seven o'clock Mass which was offered for all the
During this third pastorate of Father Joseph Anthony the
following sons of the parish sang their first solemn Masses at St.
Augustine's: Father Augustine Waldvogel, O.M.Cap., on May 31, and
Father Edgar Riemer, O.M.Cap., on June 7, 1914. Father Joseph Anthony
preached for the former celebration and Father Cassian Hardl, O.M.Cap.,
for the latter. In 1915, Father Anscar Zawart, O.M.Cap., sang his first
solemn Mass on May 30 at seven o'clock and Father Justin Walz,
O.M.Cap., at ten o'clock. The sermons were preached by Fathers Clement
Pfeifer, O.M.Cap., and Godhard Friedmann, O.M.Cap.
Father Joseph completed his third term in July, 1915. Broken in
health he. lived at the local friary without holding any office. About
four years later, on May 25, 1919, he passed away at the age of
sixty-five. Father Ignatius Weisbruch, O.M.Cap., Ex-Provincial at the
time, sang the solemn Requiem and the Right Rev. Stephen Walsh, pastor
of St. James' Church, Wilkinsburg, preached an eloquent and touching
sermon. The Most Reverend Bishop, Regis Canevin, performed the last
absolution. A host of priests and religious including the Rt. Rev.
Arch-abbot Aurelius Stehle, O.S.B., of St. Vincent's, Latrobe attended
the obsequies. His remains rest in St. Augustine's Cemetery, near the
companions of his early labors, with Fathers Maurice and Hyacinth with
whom his name is inseparably linked.(18)
The next pastor was an old acquaintance, Father Agatho Rolf.
Since the parish buildings had been so thoroughly renovated in recent
years, there was little to do in this respect. Consequently, the new
pastor, a fervent friend of the missions, endeavored to make the parish
mission-minded. He himself had been instrumental in establishing the
Catholic Students' Mission Crusade, having presided at the organizing
meeting held at Techny, Illinois, in 1918. True to his conviction, he
sought to inspire the parish with a practical love for the missions.
Accordingly, in 1915, he conducted a grand mission bazaar
that netted $2,058.89. The
next year he organized the Little Flower Mission Circle composed of
young ladies who volunteered their leisure to sew for the poor churches
in mission lands. In many ways, both in the church and in the school,
he continued to interest the parish in the "other sheep not of this
The outstanding work of Father Agatho in this regard was the
establishment of the Missionary Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at
St. Augustine's. This noble work was founded by Miss Mary Dunn of St.
John the Baptist Parish on June 21, 1908. Its purpose was to instruct
the Catholic children in outlying districts lacking both church and
school. In January, 1916, Father Agatho established the Confraternity
at St. Augustine's to catechize the neglected Catholic children,
chiefly Italians and Slavs, living within the limits of the parish.
Every Sunday after the childrens' Mass these children gathered into the
parlors of the monastery to receive instruction from volunteer teachers
under the supervision of Father Agatho. Happily, this work has
continued to the present day.(19)
(18) Seraphic Home Journal, June,
This obituary states erroneously that Bishop Domenec
ordained Fr. Joseph. He was ordained by Bishop Tuigg.
(19) Cf. Silver Jubilee of the
Missionary Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
, Pittsburgh, 1933.
During the pastorate of Father Agatho the sanctuary was enriched with a
costly credence table of onyx and gilded brass, cut-glass cruets and
gilt plate. The donor was Mrs. Albert Brandner who chose this way to
honor the memory of her late husband. The baptistry was also enhanced
by a new altar with artistic relief donated by a friend of the
On May 28, 1916, Father William Stehle, O.M.Cap., returned to
sing his first solemn Mass in his home parish. Father Cassian,
An unprecedented honor came to the parish on December 8, 1916,
when Pope Benedict XV conferred the Knighthood of St. Gregory on Mr.
Charles Jaegle. Born on September 19, 1854, in Freiburg in Breisgau, he
came to the United States in 1868 and settled in Pittsburgh. He married
Elizabeth Koebert on August 30, 1874. In 1880, he was chosen first
editor and manager of the Pittsburgher
, and in 1898, he established the Pittsburgh Observer
, a Catholic
weekly. Later he edited the Knight
of St. George
, the organ of the Knights of that Order. Mr.
Charles Jaegle was highly honored by the Most Rev. Bernard Christen of
Andermatt, O.M.Cap., General of the Capuchins, who in 1893 affiliated
him to the Capuchin Order. This affiliation entitled him and his
descendants to the third generation to participate in all the Masses
and good works of the Order. Mr. Jaegle was also a charter member of
the Catholic Press Association and for many years its treasurer.
The knighting of Mr. Jaegle took place in St. Augustine's Church
on April 22, 1917. The Most Rev. Regis Canevin, Bishop of Pittsburgh,
officiated. Up to that time Mr. Jaegle was, so far as we have
ascertained, the only Catholic of the Pittsburgh Diocese to be made a
Knight of St. Gregory. Mr. Jaegle bore his distinction with honor yet
with humility, occupying his privileged place in the sanctuary on
solemn occasions. He died on November, 1926, and was buried in St.
Augustine's Cemetery. The Right Rev. William F. Stadelman, C.S.Sp.,
On August 19, 1917, St. Augustine's was honored by a visit of
the Most Rev. Venantius Dodo, a Lisle en Rigault, General of the
Capuchin Order. On this occasion he made a brief address to the
tertiaries of St. Francis.(21)
Under the pastorate of Father Agatho, the following sons of the
parish sang their first Solemn High Mass: Rev. Hyacinth Steigner,
O.M.Cap., June, 1917; and Rev. Theodore Schillo, O.M.Cap., May 19,
1918. Father Agatho preached the festive sermon for Father Theodore.
Father Agatho's pastorate ended in July, 1918. In keeping with
his apostolic love for the missions, he volunteered his services for
the Capuchin Mission of Kansu, China, although in years he was well
beyond the fiftieth milestone. For a decade he worked zealously,
bearing all the hardships inseparable from mission life in the Orient,
and when about to return to the land of his birth, was stricken with
the dreaded typhus and passed to his reward on July 7, 1931. He is
buried in Tsinchow. His name will be in benediction not only in St.
Augustine's and other parishes of the homeland, but also in far-off
China for whose conversion he shortened his years.
(20) St. Aug.
, Dec., 1916,
pp. 8, 9; Acta Apost. Sedis
Dec., 1916, p. 463.
(21) Analecta O.M.Cap.
XXXIII, Rome, 1917, p. 198.