Saint Vincent Basilica Parish was formed on April 16, 1790 when Father Theodore Brouwers, O.F.M. purchased the 300 acres of land called “Sportsman’s Hall Tract” and thus founded Sportsman’s Hall Parish. The parish was later placed under the patronage of Saint Vincent de Paul and so was called Saint Vincent parish.
Saint Vincent is the first Catholic parish in Pennsylvania west of the Allegheny Mountains continuing to this day; and, as Father Andrew Arnold Lambing, foremost historian on things Catholic in the Pittsburgh area of that day, said of the Sportsman’s Hall Parish: “It is the cradle of Catholicity in Western Pennsylvania.” Father Brouwers was, therefore, not only the first resident pastor of the Sportsman’s Hall Parish, but also the first Catholic priest to establish a permanent residence in western Pennsylvania.
With the arrival of Boniface Wimmer, a Benedictine Bavarian monk, in 1846, the parish began a long affiliation with the Benedictine Order. Wimmer’s success in establishing Benedictine monasticism in North America began at Saint Vincent and spread to Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, and many places in between, and beyond.
As the needs of the parish continued to grow and a new church was constructed, the Bishop of Pittsburgh dedicated the church on the feast day of Saint Vincent de Paul. It was his custom to name the parish for the saint whose feast was celebrated on that day, so thus was the parish named.
Construction on the Archabbey Basilica was begun in the late 19th century and completed in 1905. Its architect was William Schickel. For more on its history, refer to the book Saint Vincent Basilica: One Hundred Years.
Saint Vincent Basilica Parish is a parish of the Diocese of Greensburg and shares a campus with Saint Vincent College, Saint Vincent Seminary, and Saint Vincent Archabbey. The Basilica Gift Shop shares space in the Parish Center, which is adjacent to the Archabbey Basilica.