Photos from St. Augustine’s Catholic Church

St. Augustine’s Catholic Church operated on the East Side of Youngstown from 1945 to 1958, and was staffed by priests of the Society of the Precious Blood, which was then based in Carthagena, Ohio.  The city’s only Black Catholic parish, it was often confused with St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, which still operates on the North Side.  The parish was quite small, drawing an average of 50 parishioners for weekly services, and former members recall that they enjoyed the church’s intimate, family-like atmosphere. The parish closed because of financial difficulties as well as growing concerns among diocesan leaders about the maintenance of a racially segregated parish.  When St. Augustine’s Catholic Church shut its doors in June 1958, many ex-parishioners joined churches in their neighborhoods.

These photos, taken in the 1950s by Naomi Byrd, show some parishioners and the priest.

Participants in a First Communion ceremony at St. Augustine's Catholic Church (Youngstown) parade out of the main entrance in July 1955.  The young girl standing at the top of the steps is Elizabeth Joy Davenport, a niece of Mrs. Naomi Byrd.

Participants in a First Communion ceremony at St. Augustine's Catholic Church (Youngstown) parade out of the main entrance in July 1955. The young girl standing at the top of the steps is Elizabeth Joy Davenport, a niece of Mrs. Naomi Byrd.

Mrs. Naomi Byrd (far left) holds her infant daughter, Anne Elizabeth, on July 29, 1956, the day of her baptism at St. Augustine's Catholic Church. Mrs. Byrd's sister, Mrs. Beverly Blackshear holds her infant son, Richard, who was baptized on the same day.  The children in the front row include (from left to right) William Blackshear, Gerald Blackshear, and Jeffery Branch.  The children in the second row include (from left to right) Brenda Branch, Gail Blackshear, David Branch, Ellis Charles Byrd, and Darrell Branch. The two young girls in the back row include (from left to right) Barbara Byrd and Elizabeth Joy Davenport.

Mrs. Naomi Byrd (far left) holds her infant daughter, Anne Elizabeth, on July 29, 1956, the day of her baptism at St. Augustine's Catholic Church. Mrs. Byrd's sister, Mrs. Beverly Blackshear holds her infant son, Richard, who was baptized on the same day. The children in the front row include (from left to right) William Blackshear, Gerald Blackshear, and Jeffery Branch. The children in the second row include (from left to right) Brenda Branch, Gail Blackshear, David Branch, Ellis Charles Byrd, and Darrell Branch. The two young girls in the back row include (from left to right) Barbara Byrd and Elizabeth Joy Davenport.

Father Vincent Parr, C.PP.S., with Elizabeth Joy Davenport, who had just received her First Communion, 1955.

Father Vincent Parr, C.PP.S., with Elizabeth Joy Davenport, who had just received her First Communion, 1955.

Father Cyril Kennedy, C.PP.S., with Mrs. Elizabeth Davenport (left) and her daughter, Elizabeth Joy Davenport, late 1950s.

Father Cyril Kennedy, C.PP.S., with Mrs. Elizabeth Davenport (left) and her daughter, Elizabeth Joy Davenport, late 1950s.

2 Responses to “Photos from St. Augustine’s Catholic Church”

  1. father kennedy is thr greatest man ive ever known! he saved our family and is missed everyday. he passed away in the mid 90s.

  2. Ben Lariccia says:

    Another piece of Youngstown’s history is rescued!

Leave a Comment