St. John Cantius was established
in 1906 as a Polish nationality parish. The origin of
the parish can be traced to the immigration of Poles to
Sharpsburg in the late nineteenth century.
At first local Poles traveled to Pittsburgh to
attend Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in the Strip
District. When Holy Family Parish was founded in 1902 in
Lawrenceville, Sharpsburg Poles attended that church.
However, they wanted their own congregation and on
October 14, 1906, the parish was established by the
appointment of a resident pastor.
The new parish made arrangements
with Madonna of Jerusalem parish to use their church until
St. John Church was built.
Work on a combined church and school began in June of
1907. The basement and the first floor were intended to
hold the school and the second floor the church. The
cornerstone was laid on August 18, 1907, and the
completed building was dedicated on January 26,
Original St. John Cantius Church and School,
On June 15, 1965, a fire
broke out in the building which completely destroyed the
church and badly damaged the school. The parish razed
the second floor church and repaired the school in the lower
floors. During this time, the parish celebrated Mass in
the parish recreational hall. The school reopened in
March of 1966. However, it took five years before work
began on the new church. Construction began in April of
1970 and the first Mass in the new church was celebrated on
Christmas Day, 1970. The church was dedicated on
February 28, 1971.
In 2008 the Korean Catholic
Community, which had been established in 1989 and had been
sharing the facilities of St. Pamphillus Parish, Beachview,
came to St. John Cantius. Their chaplain
moved into the rectory, and KCC parishioners used the rectory
and downstairs social hall for religious education classes and
St. John Cantius