The resignation of Father Maguire as pastor of the Sportsman’s Hall Parish was a great disappointment to the congregation, and the fact that he left behind a debt of $242.83 added bitterness to disappointment. The reaction of the congregation was to take the administration of the properties of “Sportsman’s Hall” and “O’Neill’s Victory” into their own hands. They were convinced that the various pastors had bungled the farming operation. And so it was that a petition to the Pennsylvania State Legislature was drawn up and signed by nearly all of the members of the congregation requesting it to vest the management of the two tracts of land in a board of trustees. Father Maguire was able to get a counter-petition drawn up and had this protest sent to the Legislature but it was to no avail. The petition from the congregation was granted in an Act of Assembly, dated March 7, 1821. The actual text stated that the pastors had abused the trust placed in them by the last Will and Testament of Father Brouwers, and so the two tracts of land were put into the hands of a board of trustees – five were named. It would not be until eleven years later (1832) that this Act of Assembly would be reversed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In the meantime Father Maguire’s successor as pastor of the Sportsman’s Hall Parish would be called upon in 1821 to face the challenges of the trustees appointed by the State Legislature.
The fourth resident pastor of the Sportsman’s Hall Parish was Father Terrence McGirr, D.D. Little is said about his actual appointment to the pastorate, most probably because Bishop Henry Conwell was only in the process of taking over the Diocese of Philadelphia after it had been without a bishop for over six years.
When Father McGirr arrived in March 1821, Father Maguire’s brother still occupied the parish house and retained possession of the tracts of land – in the name of Father Maguire. For this reason Father McGirr lived for several months in Youngstown, a hamlet two miles away along the “Pennsylvania Turnpike” which followed the Forbes Road. And, when Mr. Maguire vacated the parish house, Father McGirr moved in and assumed managements of the tracts of land, without paying much attention to the board of trustees. He also engaged his brother, Bernard McGirr, as farmer. The trustees, at first, showed surprise at their pastor’s independent actions but did not protest because of the favorable first impression that he had made on him. The trustees, however, gradually began to insist on their supposed rights and made it very unpleasant for Father McGirr, whose impetuous nature was beginning to manifest itself.
Throughout his tenure, Father McGirr was faithful to the performance of his pastoral duties at the Sportsman’s Hall Parish, and he continued the practices of Father Helbron and Father Maguire in making missionary visits to other parts of Westmoreland County, and to Armstrong and Butler Counties as well. In 1822, Father McGirr decided to erect a small church, 26 ‘ x 44 ‘, under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, on a plot of land near the settlement known as New Derry, which was about six miles north of Sportsman’s Hall. Father McGirr’s intent was to serve the Irish Catholic farmers and coal miners who had settled in this area. And, although Father McGirr held services occasionally in this rough hewn church, it never developed as a separate parish, but became part of Saint Martin Parish, which was founded in 1856. Another place visited by Father McGirr was Saint Patrick Church in Cameron’s Bottom, Indiana County. This Church had been founded from Loretto by Father Gallitzin in 1820. There was something predictive in Father McGirr’s visiting Cameron’s Bottom, since he would minister to these people in his later years 1834 until 1842.
Father McGirr, during his nine-year pastorate at Sportsman’s Hall Parish, continued the practice of recording baptisms and marriages in the book that had been initiated by Father Helbron and continued by Father Maguire – later printed as Father Peter Helbron’s Greensburg Register. But it is regrettable that Father McGirr’s recordings were defective and difficult to read.
Father McGirr left the parish in the late autumn of 1830 and journeyed to Loretto to be with the only confidant he appeared to have, Father Gallitzin. It was in these Allegheny Mountains that Father McGirr was to spend the last twenty-one years of his life. Father Gallitzin made sundry attempts to get Father McGirr back into active ministry. It appears that Father McGirr spent the remainder of his life on a farm along the Ebensburg-Wilmore road. He lived there with his brother, who managed the farm under his direction. This closing decade of Father McGirr’s life was evidently quiet and undisturbed, and he died peacefully on August 11, 1851 – over eleven years after the death of Father Gallitzin.