Welcome to Saint George
St. George Maronite Church is a welcoming community of Apostolic Christians committed to bearing witness to the Cross of Christ in the Laurel Highlands.
Founded in 1927, St. George has welcomed many families to worship with us across Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. If you are searching for a new place to call your spiritual home St. George is for you!
Rev. Father Aaron J. Sandbothe, Pastor
Fr. Aaron J. Sandbothe was born in Shelby, NC in 1987, the son of Samuel and Sheryl Sandbothe. Father Aaron attended Pickens High School, graduating with honors in 2006. He went on to pursue undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in December 2011.
As a parishioner of St. Rafka Maronite Church in Greenville, SC, Fr. Aaron discerned a calling to the priesthood and entered seminary at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, DC in August 2012. While in formation, Fr. Aaron had pastoral assignments at St. Maron Church in Philadelphia, PA, St. Louis Gonzaga Church in Utica, NY, Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, St. Elias Church in Roanoke, VA, and St. Anthony Church in Lawrence, MA. After completing his studies and pastoral formation he graduated from The Catholic University of America School of Theology and Religious Studies with a pontifical degree in Sacred Theology in 2016.
He was ordained to the subdiaconate by Chorbishop Seely Beggiani at Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary on 14 September 2015. Bishop Gregory Mansour ordained Fr. Aaron to the diaconate at St. Rafka Church in Greenville, SC on 5 March 2016. Following his graduation and diaconate assignment, Fr. Aaron was ordained by Bishop Gregory to the sacred priesthood at St. Mary's Church in Greenville, SC on 10 September 2016.
In October 2016, Bishop Gregory assigned Fr. Aaron to St. Louis Gonzaga Church, Utica, NY as parochial vicar. Besides sacramental and pastoral care, Father Aaron served as moderator of the Maronite Young Adults group and assisted in the development of liturgical music at the parish.
In June 2018, Bishop Gregory assigned Fr. Aaron as Administrator of Mary, Mother of the Light Church in Tequesta, FL. During his time in Tequesta, Fr. Aaron developed the liturgical life of the parish, provided pastoral and administrative care to the parish school, offered the Maronite Liturgy for the Spanish speaking community in Palm Beach, served as the chaplain to the Knights of Columbus, and offered the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for the Latin Mass Society of the Palm Beaches.
In March 2020, Bishop Gregory assigned Fr. Aaron as Pastor of St. George Church in Uniontown, PA.
“Mercy hath brought thee in to this house that is full of profit; think it not loss if thou remain long herein. Life flows from the service of the House of God; ye lovers of life, refuse not the profit that comes thereof!”
From a Homily of St. Jacob of Serugh +521
Dr. Mallard T. George
Dr. Charles D. Machesky
Charles J.R. Michael
PARISH STAFF & OFFICE HOURS
Mrs. Paula Toth
Tuesday - Friday
12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
The Parish council is an advisory board that helps the priest in making major decisions in the Church. The parish council, elected by the parishioners, meets once a month.
Altar serves are a very important part of the Divine Liturgy. They serve as assistants to the priest on the altar, which is a great privilege. Anyone interested in becoming an altar server should contact the parish office.
Ushers serve as greeters, prepare the altars for service, take the collection offerings, assist parishioners with seating, and they administer to the needs of the congregation, as necessary. They also assist the priest during Divine Liturgy, when called upon. Anyone interested in becoming an usher can contact the parish office.
The Ladies Guild has been serving the parish of St. George for more than 75 years, Membership is available to all Christian women, former and active parishioners and friends of St. George who are 18 years or older. Meetings are held on the third Sunday of the month.
This women's group supports the church physically and spiritually. Meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month. New members are always welcome.
The Maronite Men's Group (M.M.G) was organized in 2011 to support the church spiritually, socially and financially. All men of the parish, ages 18 & older, are encouraged to join. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month and feature a guest speaker.
The Maronite Young Adult Organization was created for young adults, of college age & older, to remain active in serving the church. Responsibilities include assisting with parish events and serving as youth advisors for the Maronite Youth Organization.
Our Maronite Youth Organization is part of a nationally-based organization for youth of Maronite parishes, ages 12 to 19. The purpose of the group is to promote the spiritual welfare of its members; strengthen them in the Maronite religious traditions; conduct prayer days; learn more about each other; and grow spiritually, socially and intellectually.
For additional information or to join any of the above mentioned organizations, please contact the parish office at 724.437.5589.
HISTORY OF ST. GEORGE CHURCH
From the beautiful shores of the Mediterranean, from an area now known as Lebanon (earlier a section of Syria), our forefathers came to the New World to find more opportunities in the "Land of Plenty". Syriac-Maronite Christians came from towns and villages such as Abdilly, Beirut, Saida, Iddee, Batroun, and others. Most of the immigrants spoke little or no English when they arrived at the shores of the United States in the late Nineteenth Century.
Founded by Henry Beeson in 1796, the city of Uniontown, and seat of Fayette County, is located at the foot of Chestnut Ridge of the Allegheny Mountains approximately fifty miles south of Pittsburgh.
The area immediately surrounding Uniontown varies from mountainous to gentle rolling valleys, rich in historical tradition and early American heritage. It still retains the hardy spirit of the pioneers who blazed the trails and settled here.
The early Maronites of Uniontown found the terrain very similar to their native land. They cherished their traditions and most precious to them were their religious beliefs. They worshipped at St. John the Evangelist Church and St. John Byzantine Church in the area until 1922. Because of their love for their Maronite background, they yearned for a church of their own. It was then that Father Paul Abi-Rizk, a Maronite priest from Lebanon, founded the first place of worship in a home at 10 Wilson Avenue in Uniontown. There, for several years, a handful of Maronite families gathered in prayer. Father Abi-Rizk was assisted periodically by Fathers Peter (Eid) Elian and Gabriel (Nader) Koury.
In 1927, a group of thirteen parishioners petitioned Bishop Hugh C. Boyle, Ordinary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, to grant permission to establish a formal parish consisting of 110 parish families. Bishop Boyle assigned Father Elias Basil, a Maronite priest from Lebanon, to assist in founding the parish and serve the Maronites of Uniontown and the surrounding area. Father Basil had previously served twenty-one years as a priest in Paris, France. He came to America in 1925 to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Chicago, Illinois, and settled in the United States.
Through his zealous efforts and supervision, joined with the cooperation of the faithful, the first St. George Church was underway. A lot 50 x 150, at a cost of $3,000, was purchased at 124 Lincoln Street and construction began. The building was to be a temporary church, with plans to convert it to a school later and a bigger church was to be constructed toward the front of the land; however, this never materialized. The building was complete and dedicated 25 March 1928, and in July of that year, Father Basil was assigned to new duties in Pittsburgh.
He was succeeded by Father Nahamtallah Hayek, a Maronite Priest from Bijji, Lebanon. Under his guidance, the parish prospered and grew. Throughout the early years leading into World War II the parish worked and prayed together and formally burned the original mortgage in 1942.
Father Hayek (then Monsignor) retired in 1947 and returned to his native Lebanon. The parish needs were placed under the spiritual ministry of Father Harold Phillips, O. S. B. of St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, with Father Thomas J. Dunn, then pastor of St. John R. C. Church, Uniontown, as financial administrator. Father Harold, as he was affectionately called, would travel to Uniontown each weekend to celebrate Liturgy and it was during his tenure, that the rectory was purchased in 1949, and the first May Crowning was held at St. George.
It was not until March 1950, that Fr. Elias G. Nader, one of two priestly vocations from St. George, returned to his home area to become pastor. He previously had been pastor of St. John the Baptist Church, New Castle, PA for thirteen years. Many changes and developments took place almost immediately upon his arrival – the Young Ladies Sodality was officially organized; the Men’s Holy Name Society was reactivated; a Building Fund for the church in Abdilly was established; altar boys were regrouped; religious instruction for the children was placed under the guidance of the Sisters of St. Joseph, then teachers at St. John Grade and High Schools; a new organ was purchased; a new bell installed; a fund for an addition to the parish rectory began; a new tabernacle was placed and an extensive remodeling program was finalized and new windows installed. St. George Church in Abdilly was sponsored and completed through the efforts of a handful of our local parishioners. The church still stands and is utilized presently by residents of Abdilly and surrounding area. In 1952, additional property was purchased adjacent to the parish rectory on Lincoln Street. All parish organizations were actively functioning – the Church Committee, Ladies Guild, Holy Name Society, Sodality and Altar Boys. An informal building fund began in 1953 and each family was assessed $25.00 per year with a goal at that time of $25,000.00.
During the early 1950’s, Msgr. Paul Abi-Rizk returned to the parish and Bishop Lamb of the Diocese of Greensburg also visited. The loss of former parish priests saddened all – Msgr. Abi-Rizk, a year following his visit, and Msgr. Basil in August 1957.
St. George Maronite Church has been blessed with the spiritual guidance of many leaders who have made tremendous impacts on our parish family and our lives. Those priests called to serve the altar of St. George have included:
1922-1927 Rt. Rev. Chorbishop Paul Abi-Rizk
1927-1928 Rt. Rev. Chorbishop Elias Basil
1928-1947 Rt. Rev. Chorbishop Nahamtallah Hayek
1947-1950 Pastoral Services Rendered by the Latin Diocese
1950-1969 Rev. Fr. Elias G. Nader
1967-1969 Rev. Fr. Joseph Shaheen – Parochial Vicar
1969-1983 Rev. Fr. Peter J. Mahfoud
1983-1994 Rev. Fr. Gregory John Mansour
1994-1998 Rev. Fr. Christopher Henderson
1998-2009 Rev. Fr. Joseph R. David
2009-2010 Rev. Fr. Tony K. Akoury
2010-2013 Rev. Fr. Nadim Helou, MLM
2013-2016 Rev. Fr. Sami Chaaya, MLM
2016-2019 Rev. Fr. El-Badaoui Habib, MLM
2019-2020 Rev. Fr. Elias Khalil
2020-Present Rev. Fr. Aaron Joseph Sandbothe