JULY 5, 1992 – It was the day after the nation had celebrated the anniversary of its Independence. A sunny, bright Sunday, and in the crowd that had gathered in the grassy field opposite St. John’s Cathedral Center were the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of another group that had gathered nearly a entry earlier for the very same reason.
These were the descendants of those who came to America from their native Eastern Europe to gain economic and religious independence for themselves and their families. To their “new land,” they brought their culture, their customs, their languages, and most importantly, they brought their church. Almost a hundred years earlier, the church that was to become St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral. Was begun near the banks of the Monongahela River, close enough to their homes to be a focal point of their lives and near the steel mills that meant economic freedom. Now, for the congregation of St. John’s. it was a “new beginning” and the spirit that brought their ancestors together long ago became a part of them as they looked on. The late Archbishop Thomas Dolinay and Monsignor Judson Procyk, having celebrated a Pontifical Liturgy at the church located on Dickson Street, led the cavalcade to Greentree Road to preside over the solemn ceremony to mark the groundbreaking for a new House of God.
An altar was set up under the banner which read “Ground Breaking” – July 5, 1992 – St. John’s Cathedral & Rectory” and the service was held to mark the beginning of the new complex that would become St. John’s. While the congregation lifted their voices in song, they watched as the ceremonial shovel of dirt was turned over many times by spiritual, church, and civic leaders. Each was afforded the opportunity to be a part of the history of St. John’s. Msgr. Procyk, the Rector of the Cathedral; the late Archbishop Dolinay, the leader of the Archdiocese; Sister Susan Sisko, the Principal of St. John’s School; Mr. Grant Scott, representing Kingslad Scott Bauer Havekotte Architects, the architects for the project; Mr. Ray Bodnar, the Mayor of Munhall; Mr. Martin Bovee, the parish cantor; Mr. Al Hvozdovich, representing the Ushers and Cameo Club; Mrs. Betty Smar, representing the Pirohi ladies; Jackie Ondo, an Altar server, Representing the youth and the future generations of the parish; and Mr. Joseph Skriba, a member for almost ninety years, representing the longevity, commitment, and support of the people.
This was the beginning of what is being celebrated today.