Parish Pastoral Plan

Plan Cover

Letter From The Pastor
Parish History
Parish Pastoral Council History
Mission Statement
Parish Pastoral Plan 2014
Parish Pastoral Plan 2015
Parish Pastoral Plan 2016
Parish Pastoral Council Members
Parish Contact Information


Letter From The Pastor

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

The dedicated work of our Parish Pastoral Council reaches a new height with the development of this Parish Pastoral Plan. The many hours that each of its members has given to this project is only an indication of how significant this Plan is for the ongoing life of our Parish Family.  Within the context of this Plan there is an invitation for very parishioner to become acquainted with the direction that it indicates for all of us to follow.  This Plan becomes an inspiration for all parishioners committed to the Parish family of St. Mary of the Assumption to take an active role in offering their time, talent and treasure to assist in moving forward the future parish life outlined in the many facets of the Plan itself.

Driven by the Mission Statement that so indicates the life of our Parish Family, this Parish Pastoral Plan puts into action a way in which this Mission Statement can be best experienced as the driving force of our parish life.  There is no doubt that the Parish Pastoral Council has given many hours of behind the scene work to the development of this plan, but now it needs the awareness of all parishioners to make sure that it becomes an effective means for deepening our relationship to the Lord Jesus. In the magnificent traditions that our Parish Family has had over these past one hundred and seventy nine years, this Parish Pastoral Plan presents an undeniable assurance that our parish life will continue for many years to come.

Might I offer a deep sense of gratitude to the current members of the Parish Pastoral Council who have worked so diligently to create this Parish Pastoral Plan?  Might I hope also that future Parish Pastoral Council members will continue to maintain such a tradition that builds on the foundation created by this Plan?  Finally, might I ask all parishioners, present and future, to continue to offer their personal prayers that the Parish Family of St. Mary of the Assumption will always be guided by a Plan that keeps the dying and rising of the Lord Jesus at the  center of our parish life?

Fr. John, Pastor from 1999 – 2015

Parish History

“On the Top of This Mountain”

The Parish Family of St. Mary of the Assumption is the fourth oldest parish in what is now the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The area that is now known as Glenshaw was once called Pine Creek. The area was settled primarily by Catholics from Germany and Ireland. By 1830, the number of Catholic settlers had increased to the point that it became desirable to build their own church. The original church, which accommodated 50 people, was built by fourteen parishioners using logs from wood from surrounding forests. Work began in 1834 and was completed in 1835.

Because the church was 10 miles away from the next closest church in Pittsburgh, masses were offered at often as possible, when a priest could make the journey from the city. Eventually, the duties of the  parish were taken over by priests from the Redemptorist  Order as a mission. Father John Neumann, who would eventually be canonized as a saint in 1977, visited the parish frequently to offer mass, hear confession and visit the sick. He is still remembered today in the stain glass window in the front of our church.

Our first resident pastor was Father Andrew Gibbs. Father Gibbs was succeeded by 26 subsequent pastors up to the time of our current pastor, Father John Marcucci (Pastor from 1999 – 2015).

The original log cabin church was torn down in 1867 and replaced by a brick structure that was dedicated under the title of St. Mary of the Assumption. Eventually that building was also replaced. Our current church building was dedicated in August 1964.

We have had a cemetery on our sacred grounds since 1834.   Our cemetery holds the graves of the original landowners of the St. Mary’s grounds, Mary and Hugo Loughrey, who donated a portion of their property to build the church.  Parishioners pass by this familiar tombstone even today as they enter the church from the west side.

Our first parish school was constructed in 1847; this original building became the convent for the church when the new school was constructed in 1924. Our school is the oldest, continuous running parish school in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

In 2009, the 2300 families that make up our Parish Family celebrated our 175th anniversary with a year long celebration of special events, activities, and liturgies.

Our church building, cemetery, and school continue to thrive and grow due to the continued faith and steadfast commitment of the parish families who have been “on the top of this mountain” for over 175 years.

Parish Pastoral Council History

In December of 2000 the Parish Pastoral Council of St. Mary of the Assumption was formed as one of the first councils to successfully transition from the previous parish council model to a Parish Pastoral Council under the guidelines of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. After completing an intense discernment process filled with the Holy Spirit, fifteen  parish family members were commissioned as our Parish Pastoral Council. They began by defining our parish mission statement and, united in prayer, developed goals and objectives each year to promote the mission. The early goals emphasized becoming a welcoming parish with the establishment of a Greeter Ministry, Hospitality Sundays,  Parish Pictorial Directory, and an introduction booklet for new parishioners. Over the past eight years they have endeavored to  increase participation through Children’s Liturgy Sundays, Catholics Coming Home, an improved website, Growing in Faith Together – GIFT, and collaborating with Faith Formation leaders on the Family Program.

The Parish Pastoral Council has reached out to the parish family for input to their leadership through an early series of focus groups, a comprehensive parish survey, and meetings and surveys  with parents and catechists in the Family Program. Recently members participated in seven focus groups for the Church Alive Campaign. The three year Parish Pastoral Plan reflects the direction received from these focus groups. The Parish Pastoral Council will coordinate with the Finance Council and will reach out to all parish ministries to accomplish the plan. The plan objectives concentrate on liturgy, technology, and spirituality, with emphasis on education, youth ministry, and evangelization.

Mission Statement

As Members of the Parish Family of St. Mary of the Assumption:

WE…Welcome and Unify the People of God as one family in Christ Jesus

WE…Strengthen and Increase Participation through meaningful liturgy

WE…Enable and Deepen the Spirituality of each individual

WE…Nurture and Share our Talents for the enrichment of the parish and the community

Our Parish Pastoral Plan flows from our Mission Statement. Included in our three year Pastoral Plan are goals and objectives that serve to enhance our liturgy, strengthen our evangelization and outreach to the community and solidify our youth ministry. We will improve our technology in order to facilitate the accomplishment of these goals and objectives. (The Mission Statement is pictured on the right hand side of the webpage)

Parish Pastoral Plan 2014

Goal: To enhance the celebration of our liturgies

Liturgical Ministries

In concert with the members of the Worship Commission:

    • Create opportunities for improved understanding and appreciation of liturgy
    • Assess the adequacy of the current training programs for each of the liturgical ministries
    • Recruit speakers and provide retreat opportunities for ongoing formation for all liturgical ministers

 Liturgical Space

In collaboration with the Parish Finance Council and Temporalities Committee and with the resources from the Church Alive Campaign:

    • Update the sound system and lighting in the church
    •  Beautify the interior space of the church
    • Design and implement better access for the physically challenged
    • Assess needs for musical enhancements of liturgy

Goal: To meet the technology needs of our parish family

Technology Team

    • Recruit knowledgeable parishioners to assess the technology needs of the church building, education building, and JAM center (campus facilities)
    • Develop a long range technology plan for campus facilities
    • Solicit input from parishioners for evaluation of the plan
    • Use the resources of parishioners to create ongoing oversight of process

Goal: To deepen the spirituality of our parish family

Youth Ministry

    • Review current youth ministry programs


    • Research what resources are available from the diocese and national organizations
    • Discuss ideas with Catholics Coming Home Ministry

Parish Pastoral Plan 2015

Goal: To assess progress on our Pastoral Plan goals for liturgy and technology, and further refine and adjust goals as needed

Goal: To enrich faith education and deepen the spirituality of our parishioners

Youth Ministry

    • Take steps to hire full-time youth minister
    • Develop a unified youth ministry program
    • Enlist assistance of young adults to mentor high school students


    • Enrich parish family understanding of our call to  evangelization with speakers throughout the year
    • Encourage all ministries to promote evangelization
    • Initiate a Parish Evangelization Office

Education Facilities and Plans

    • Collaborate with appropriate parish groups to decide how capital improvements in the education building will be implemented
    • Consider suggestions for education and spirituality proposed by parish family members during Church Alive Campaign sessions

Parish Pastoral Plan 2016

Goal: To evaluate and complete goals for liturgy, technology, and education from years 2014 and 2015

Goal: To assess the awareness of our Mission Statement among parish family members and to evaluate its impact on parish life

Goal: To analyze the progress of our parish Church Alive Campaign and to assess the implementation of the parish case statement


Gentle and gracious Father, I come before you seeking your presence to INCREASE MY FAITH so that I might take an active role in the ongoing life of our Parish Family, to INCREASE MY HOPE that I can be an effective witness to our parishioners about our life together, and to INCREASE MY LOVE that I might come to appreciate the commitment of all parishioners to our Parish Family.

We all have the awesome responsibility to continue to build a Community of Faith upon the long standing traditions that have been passed on to us by those who have gone before us. Give us the courage to continue to follow in the footsteps of your Son the Lord Jesus, and fill us with the fire of the Holy Spirit so that we can become true witnesses to the Catholic Faith that binds us together as one family.

May our love of the Parish Family of St. Mary of the Assumption, and our adherence to all that is required of us be a living witness to those who come after us! This we seek through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in the name of your Son the Lord Jesus both of whom live and reign with You as a triune God forever and ever. AMEN.


Parish Pastoral Council members offer their appreciation and gratitude to all who have contributed to the promotion of our parish mission and to the accomplishment of our goals and objectives from 2000 to the present:

  • Previous Parish Pastoral Council members: Bob Balkey, Ron Belski, Gina Brown, Dave Buckley, Jon Burge, Ruth Dollin, Dick Dougall, Laurie Exler, Betty Hengelsberg, Beverley Kohan, Carl Lichvarcik, Joyce Lunz, Chuck Martier, Arlene Nath (deceased), Mariane Ruffner, Steve Shadle, and Jim Squarcia
  • All who have served as leaders of new ministries and programs as well as all who have participated in these ministries and programs
  • All who have been their insight and direction through Parish Pastoral Council surveys and focus groups
  • All involved in our parish family who, through living our Catholic faith, have strengthened our faith community and have been a constant  inspiration to Parish Pastoral Council members
  • Laurie Exler, for assisting in the compilation of the Parish Pastoral Plan

Parish Pastoral Council Members

Sue Ferguson
Sue FergusonRosemary Cather KellyRobert Lefler
Richard NashAnn SawaDebbie Schwoegl
Richard NashAnn SawaDebbie Schwoegl
Norma ToderoskiFather Tim Whalen
The Parish Pastoral Council Members welcome your input and suggestions for implementation of the plan. Please send comments to: or 412-486-4100

The Parish Pastoral Plan will be updated in November of each year. The first printing is dated November 2013.

Parish Contact Information

St. Mary of the Assumption Church

2510 Middle Road

Glenshaw PA 15116