Congregation dedicates new St. Margaret Mary Church
LOWER BURRELL — The congregation of St. Margaret Mary Church celebrated a homecoming on Saturday with the dedication and blessing of its new church.
During the afternoon ceremony, Lawrence Brandt, bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, sprinkled the walls and congregation with holy water.
The facility on Leechburg Road seats nearly 800, and was full. Before Brandt lead them through the doors for the first time, they gathered in front for a photo under a bright, sunny sky.
“I think it's wonderful,” said Rick Dunmire of Lower Burrell, a 20-year member of the church. “It's almost as nice as a wedding.”
“It looks so beautiful,” said Jo Ann Coleman of Leechburg. “I can't wait to see inside.”
Work on the $4.6 million project began after a closing Mass on May 29, 2011. The parish had been celebrating weekend Masses at Charles Huston Middle School since June 2011.
In his homily, Brandt invoked the autumn season, when schools celebrate homecomings and welcome back those who have been away.
“You have been away from home and have greatly missed it,” Brandt said. “Welcome home.”
The project more than doubled the worship space, from 5,400 square feet to 13,000 square feet. Seating was increased from 435 to nearly 800; if the gathering area is used, it can accommodate nearly 1,100 people.
Seating more people at one time and reducing the number of Masses are part of the idea as the church is faced with a shortage of priests, said Bill Staniszewski, St. Margaret Mary's business manager and manager of the building project.
“We really were short on space,” he said.
The church wasn't quite ready for its dedication, with some work unfinished. There had been a flurry of activity in the past week to get as much done as possible for the scheduled ceremonies. The Rev. James Gaston, the church's pastor, called it a “photo finish,” with the church's altar arriving Friday night.
“I could not be happier. Everything has come together in such a wonderful way,” he said. “It's a happy day for the people of the parish.”
The former church, used since 1957, was intended as a temporary worship space. The new construction wraps around it.
The church is “built for the future,” with technology such as video projection that will eliminate the need for hymnals. It is set up to be able to use solar power.
“This is about the next generation, not the next couple years,” Gaston said.
The first wedding in the new church is scheduled for Oct. 13.
The first couple married in the church previously — Paul and Loretta Petrosky of Lower Burrell, married in 1954 — were among those celebrating.
They had seven children; their two daughters were married there. Their parents' funerals were there.
“It's our life,” Loretta Petrosky said of the church. “We're just happy that we're here.”
They didn't have any problem accepting the changes.
“It's beautiful,” Paul Petrosky said. “They needed it. They needed more room. People were standing all the time.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alle-Kiski Valley businesses profit from jump in tourism
- Vermont Baptist Church warmly welcomed in New Kensington
- Highlands students fired up about NYC trip
- 3 charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- Arnold settles health benefits lawsuit with former councilman
- Oakmont hit-run probed
- Despite challenging weather, home sales continue to rise
- Months of hard work go into Alle-Kiski high-school musicals
- Leechburg man charged with molesting girls, watching child pornography
- Stray bald eagle does flyby at Hays nest
- Retired teacher pushes black history forward at Peoples Library presentation