Fr. Harvey Assumes Pastorate

Father Harvey Assumes Pastorate


Father John A. Harvey, appointed pastor in July 1995, became the sixth pastor at St. Valentine Church. By 1998, it was clear to him that the number of elderly in the parish was increasing. He hired Mimi Darragh as the parish social minister to evaluate the current needs of the elderly.

At the same time, there was interest in starting a parish nurse/health ministry program. The Bethany Group expanded to become the Bethany Health Ministry. The Bethany Health Ministry is made up of volunteers from the parish that reach out to our elderly parishioners, the homebound, nursing home parishioners, and parishioners in St. Clair Hospital. One major project of the Bethany Health Ministry is the Vial of Life program. This project, which began in the parish and now reaches all of Bethel Park, provides a free kit to families to list medical information for each family member. This information is then kept in the same place in every home so that emergency medical personnel or family members can find it in an emergency. Vial of Life kits are available in the Newman House Library.

St. Valentine has one of the oldest youth ministry programs in the diocese. The first youth group began in the early 1990’s, and was very successful in helping young people to understand and live their faith. During the mid 1990’s the youth ministry became involved in CYM Sports, a ministry offered by the Diocese of Pittsburgh that allowed teens to learn to live their faith on the playing field. The first summer softball team competed against other parish teams in the league.
The convent, empty except for the preschool, became the new Newman House. The old house at 2721 Mesta Street, which was beyond renovation was torn down.

Beginning in September 1990, the St. Valentine Preschool was established to serve the needs of parishioners, as well as surrounding community neighbors. Renovations on the ground floor of St. Valentine Convent began in the spring of 1990 to house the program. The two-room program opened its doors September 1990 to 50 children. Mrs. Judy Mills, preschool teacher, assumed instruction of two three-year-old classes and two four-year-old classes. With the departure of the Sisters of St. Francis from the convent, the program quickly spread to the entire ground floor of the building. An outdoor fenced-in play yard was later constructed as a Boy Scout Eagle Project and added to the physical structure.

In September 2005, the program further expanded to include a “Tiny Hearts for Two.” The class for two-year-olds and their parent/caregiver takes place on Thursday mornings. A number of priests served St. Valentine Church as parochial vicars during Father Harvey’s pastorate. These include: Father F. Raymond Trance (July 18, 1994 – April 20, 1998), Father Kevin Dominik (June 16, 1997 – August 17, 1998), Father Richard R. Ragni (June 8, 1998 – April 26, 1999), Father Robert P. Connolly (Pro-Tem; August 17, 1998 – November 27, 1998), and Father Robert M. Miller (January 18, 1999 – September 17, 2001).