In the fall of 1872, a lovely wooden frame chapel at the entrance of the New Cathedral Cemetery was completed and designated as a mission church of St. Michael Parish. The newly erected chapel was the foundation of what we know today as St. Veronica Parish. Father Maurice Welsh, then pastor of St. Michael’s Parish, and his assistants cared for the spiritual needs of the seventy-five parishioners who lived within its boundaries. This arrangement lasted for six years until Bishop James Wood appointed a pastor for the new parish of Saint Veronica.
Father William McLoughlin assumed his duties as first pastor of the small flock in August of 1878. At that time the location of the parish was Second and Butler Streets on the grounds of what is now the New Cathedral Cemetery. By 1889, the situation at St. Veronica’s had not changed much, except that the population had grown amazingly from seventy-five to almost four thousand. The little chapel was inadequate for the needs of the growing parish community. Reverend John Donnelly was appointed pastor in 1889, and it was under his capable guidance that land was purchased on the northeast corner of Sixth and Tioga Streets as a site for the “new” Saint Veronica Chapel. On April 22, 1894, the new chapel/school was dedicated by Archbishop Ryan.
The school opened its doors for the first time in August of 1894 under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Child of Jesus. In 1904 this direction changed and was placed in the hands of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who have remained at the school until the present. The school has undergone many changes over the years. Originally the school occupied the second and third floors of the chapel building. By 1909, the new church, which now stands at the corner of Sixth and Tioga Streets had been dedicated and the chapel became an addition to the school. A second expansion occurred in 1980 when Our Lady of Pompeii School closed and the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students moved to this new St. Veronica Annex at Sixth and Erie Streets.
Changes in the local population during the 1990’s witnessed a decline in enrollment, resulting in the close of the annex.
Until 1972, St. Veronica Parish was comprised predominately of Irish and German immigrant families. It was evident that the population of the community was changing from one of German-Irish descent to one of dominated by Hispanics and other ethnic groups. As time went on, it became increasingly clear to the school administration and faculty that the needs of Spanish speaking students were quite different from those of the students who had attended the school since the early 1900’s.