About Saint Thomas A' Becket Parish

St. Thomas A'Becket Parish is a Christian community centered in the suburban setting of Pittsburgh, PA. We are a people of God, giving witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.

We are a Catholic community called to form a faith community flowing from prayer, worship and service in an effort to achieve social justice, as expressed in the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.

We invite all people, individuals and families to become a visible sign and living expression of God's love for His people. We believe that the Spirit is alive among us.

Parish History

Nearly fifty years ago, the Diocese of Pittsburgh recognized the need for a new parish in the Pleasant Hills and Jefferson area, due to increasing population and the housing boom occurring at the time.  Saint Thomas A’ Becket was formally established on June 3, 1957 and the first Mass was held less than two weeks later on June 16 in the Thomas Jefferson High School Gymnasium. 

Bishop John F. Dearden appointed Rev. John O Griffith its first Pastor. Father Griffith and the 200 families of St. Thomas A’ Becket embraced a pioneer’s spirit in developing and growing the parish community. Shortly after the establishment of the parish, a building was purchased at 509 Gill Hall Road from the Hanlon Construction Company and subsequently remodeled into a church and parish office.

On December 25, 1957 the first Mass was held at the reconstructed building on Gill Hall Road in what would be commonly referred to as the “Chapel” (the building now serving as the rectory and administrative offices).

In January 1958, Father Griffith moved into the combination rectory, social hall and Chapel that at the time could hold 220 parishioners in its lower level.  By September 1958, the first kindergarten class was held in the social room and in December 1960 Bishop John J. Wright presided over the confirmation of 127 children.

In April 1962, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for a new “temporary” church and school complex to be constructed on nearly 12 acres located at 139 Gill Hall Road. 

As described in the 1962 building campaign brochure, “the temporary church will accommodate 500 people and will eventually be converted into a gymnasium or recreation center for the youth of the parish after the permanent church is completed sometime in the future…we are building a temporary church in the interest of economy.  As the parish grows, it may be necessary to make the permanent church even larger than present plans indicate.”  The new temporary church was dedicated on July 11, 1965.

In January, 1967, Rev. Gerald D. Kelly was appointed to succeed Father Griffith.  Father Kelly remained Pastor of St. Thomas A’ Becket for over thirty years until his retirement on June 13, 1999.  During this time, the idea of a permanent church did not fade too far into the background.

In the 1982 booklet celebrating the Silver Anniversary of the parish Father Kelly outlined the goals for the future as follows: a) retire remaining debt of $75,000, b) construct a 750 seat church, c) convert existing church into multipurpose center, d) construct rectory and offices on property, and e) convert present rectory into senior citizen’s center or sale of property.

On July 5 1999, one month after Father Kelly’s retirement, Rev. Robert L. Seeman was appointed the third Pastor of Saint Thomas A’ Becket.  Father Bob has presided over the most remarkable growth in our fifty year history and has effectively shepherded our faith community both spiritually and financially. frbob50thIn 2001, the Hall Property, which is adjacent to the northwest corner of the main Parish property, was opportunistically purchased in preparation for future expansion. 

In 2004, a Building Committee was formed of parishioners and Pinnacle Design & Consulting, Inc. was commissioned to develop a comprehensive study for the properties of the parish.  This study, which came to be known as the Master Plan Study of 2005 provided the parish with an inventory and analysis of existing conditions, an assessment and analysis of parish spatial requirements and projections of demographics and population trends. 

This work was completed with the oversight and review by the Building Committee.  Upon completion the results of this study were presented to and reviewed with the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Despite the original plan regarding a permanent structure and the accelerating parishioner growth experienced in the early 21ST century, the building which was intended from its inception to be a temporary Church structure remains today our house of worship. Since 1965, Masses at St. Thomas A’ Becket have been conducted in this “temporary” Church building. Since its humble beginnings nearly 50 years ago, St. Thomas A’ Becket has grown into a thriving parish community. 

Today, St. Thomas A’ Becket is one of the most spiritually and financially sound parishes of its size in the Pittsburgh Diocese.  The last of the $75,000 debt referred to in the 1982 booklet was retired in 2000 and the parish has operated under a balanced budget each year since.  In recent years, the number of families, parishioners and CCD students have grown at rates of roughly 8% per year. There are many active ministries, over 450 CCD students, many committed volunteers and a renewed sense of spirit likened to the early days of the parish in the late 1950’s.

A "Permanent" Church

In April of 2006, the Diocese of Pittsburgh gave St. Thomas A’ Becket approval to launch a building campaign totaling $6.5 million for the construction of a church, offices and rectory.  This approval followed many years and much work from a number of dedicated parishioners, including those on the Building Committee, the Capital Campaign Committee and our Finance Council. This project phase is based on the results of the Master Plan Study commissioned by the parish in 2004 and, as modified, by the results of our parish-wide Planning Survey conducted during the fall of 2005...more