Pittsburg Press, 13 June 1892.Throngs Crowding Around the Shrine of St. Anthony.
Father Mollinger's little kingdom was a scene of animation today that was most interesting to not only the people of his faith, but as well to those of people of other denominations. Mount Troy had a holiday today--the patron saint St. Anthony was to be honored. Dead, yet living in the heart of the great church, the commemoration of the anniversary of his birth brought thousands to the little chapel which the venerable father has given a world-wide renown. A stranger, suddenly thrown upon the scene witnessed this morning, would wonder what it was all about. Carriages came driving up to the chapel from all directions; from them were carried into the chapel the sick, the lame, the blind; around in the vast crowd that had gathered, walked many who used crutches, many whose faces bore upon them the expression that only can come from suffering. All day yesterday the people came; the boarding houses, which are as plentiful almost as the number of visitors, were crowded. One young man, a wealthy resident of Washington city--Bohrer Von Orendorf--was there to be cured of paralysis. He was before the shrine of St. Anthony last year and had received, as he told the writer this morning, great benefit; he was not yet cured but he expected to be; one woman was there who had come all the way from Australia. She was certain that she would return cured of her ailment.It was noticeable, however, that the crowds that thronged to St. Anthony's chapel to-day were not as large as they were in former years. Most of the people were from Pittsburg and Allegheny; the visitors from abroad were not numerous.
The services to-day commenced with the early mass at 6 o'clock. The chapel was crowded and the service an impressive one. At 7:30 the mass for the repose of the soul of the patron St. Anthony was held. At both services the chapel was crowded, with hundreds unable to get in. It was not until 10 o'clock, however, when the high mass was to be celebrated, that the throng grew large. For an hour before mass commenced, the street half-way to the next square was packed. In the chapel yard was a crowd that suffocated almost. One woman fainted and had to be carried out to a shady place where she received medical attention. Cripples were thrown about, crowded, and many who were not cripples were in danger of becoming so, so eager were the multitude to enter the sacred edifice. Officers of the church and five policemen were needed to preserve order and to see that those entitled by reason of their infirmities to enter the church and receive the blessing, were allowed to do so. In the crowd were Detectives Steel and McKelvey, of Allegheny, who were watching for pickpockets. Before 10 o'clock they had ordered two men to take a walk and not show themselves while the services were being held on Mount Troy. It was after 11 o'clock when Father Mollinger, having sprinkled holy water over the heads of the congregation, came out among the crowds to do the same. To-day he gave only the general blessing; to-morrow he will give the individual blessings, and each day thereafter for three weeks.
Back of the chapel, in a little yard, was observed a sight that once seen cannot soon be forgotten. All have read of the pool of Siloam. How eagerly the sick and diseased awaited the troubling of the waters; but here to-day in that little yard sat mothers with sick infants, young girls, walking on crutches, boys, crippled and paralyzed, old men suffering with rheumatism--dozens of these people awaited the coming of Father Mollinger. They sat upon the hard, hot ground; leaned against the high wall that enclosed the yard, and all had their eyes turned toward the door where at any moment might come their healer. It was a dreary wait, but there was on each face an expression of patience. There was no disorder; there was, of course, considerable crowding about the entrance to the old chapel, but it was a disorder that naturally arose, not from any desire on the part of the people to make the occasion an uncomfortable one.
While everything was impressive inside of the church, outside it was a curious scene. Lemonade and fruit booths were as plenty as at a circus; yells of "Here's yer lemonade, 1 cent a glass," were heard on all sides. Nearly every house had a sign upon it, "Meals at all hours, by the day or week." Upon numerous porches sat invalids who knew that to-day they could not get to see Father Mollinger and receive his benediction. They were trying to make themselves comfortable, evidently waiting for the morrow, when their chance would come to kneel before the father.At 2 o'clock this afternoon, an impressive scene was witnessed. The crowd had greatly increased and the mass in the church was one that always draws a crowd. The usual general blessing was bestowed on the people. The street cars did a large business to-day. Every arriving car was crowded to its utmost capacity. The saloons on the hill were also well patronized. It took a great many barkeepers to supply the thirsty customers.
Father Mollinger will hold daily services for three weeks, blessing all who come. It was noticeable to-day that most of the visitors were children or women. Very few men were seen. For the next three weeks Mount Troy will be a busy place.
Transcribed by dc.
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