Church collects to repair headstones
McKeesport's St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church will pass the offering plate this weekend for donations to repair 12 vandalized headstones in its North Versailles Township cemetery.
The incident apparently happened between July 6 and 8 — one month after the church along Eden Park Boulevard was plunged into a lengthy blackout by the crash of a car into a utility pole.
“It is probably kids,” said the Rev. Gregory Madeya, St. John's pastor, about the vandalism at the cemetery along Crooked Run Road.
“Around a concrete bench there were pop bottles and potato chip bags,” Madeya said.
“They also ripped out veterans' flags, some of the flag holders are missing, and solar lights (at some gravesites) were tossed around and broken.”
The vandalism was discovered in the afternoon on July 8.
“One of the parishioners came to the door and told me about it,” Madeya said. “There were two ladies who said they were up there on (July 6) after our 4 p.m. Mass and they didn't notice anything.”
Collections are slated at Saturday 4 p.m. and Sunday 9:30 a.m. Masses at the church, which serves up to 200 Mon-Yough area families.
The pastor estimated repairs to the headstones could cost between $2,000 and $3,000.
“Some of the footers may be damaged,” Madeya said. “Some you won't know (if they are damaged) until you move those headstones.”
Madeya said the church is trying to raise money for a reward it is offering for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Those with information can call the church at 412-672-0923.
Since the vandalism, parishioners have kept a closer eye on the cemetery — as have local authorities.
“North Versailles Township police have been real good about this,” Madeya said. “It is a big chunk of money for us, especially after the accident.”
McKeesport police said the driver in the June 7 accident in which a car sheared a pole between St. John the Baptist and Holy Family Parish Polish National Catholic Church was conscious when paramedics arrived but required treatment at a Pittsburgh trauma center.
Police said the man was southbound along Eden Park when his car crossed the double-yellow lines and hit the pole head on.
City Deputy Fire Chief Don Sabol said power lines were on top of the car. City electrician Tom Rosso was able to cut the lines and remove them from the vehicle, allowing firefighters to extract the driver.
Duquesne Light crews responded to fix the pole and wires. A transformer also was damaged — as was a conduit that carried electricity into the Ukrainian Catholic church.
“We were without electricity for a month,” Madeya said. “They had to dig up a trench 2 feet wide across our parking lot.”
Damage was estimated at $27,000, much of which was covered by insurance. The damage went beyond the parking lot.
“One of our commercial refrigerators and our commercial freezer were shot,” Madeya said. “When the accident took place, we were not able to have as many pyrohy sales.”
After a week without electric service the church brought in a generator that was utilized until the electrical lines could be repaired.
The parish is holding its next pyrohy sale on Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Homemade bread, soup and haluski also will be offered.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Allegheny County explores state of Mon Valley area health
- ‘Wonderland Jr.’ tries to be its own production
- Clairton residents share concerns over sewage bills
- West Mifflin official: Buyer expected soon for old administration building
- McKeesport lawmaker’s bill would fund more police by upping fines
- Munhall officials miffed at ex-manager for leaving town
- West Mifflin Area schools boost security in response to threat against student
- Glassport plaque gets new home
- W. Mifflin backs drilling at airport
- Pair of Operation Pork Chop trials delayed in McKeesport
- County investigators determine fatal McKeesport fire started in living room