Regular Saturday Mass returns to St. Anthony Church building
Sitting in the St. Paul Seminary in Crafton, Laura Magone was uncertain about the message she was about to hear from Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik.
What she and three parishioners of the former St. Anthony Church heard might be described as miraculous.
“Everybody thinks this is the best Christmas gift they've received,” Magone said. “And they are very grateful to the bishop and Father Terza.”
The Roman Catholics received this answer to the request made to the diocese: Masses will again be celebrated in the former St. Anthony Church building in Monongahela.
Most Masses had been discontinued at the church, which joined with the former Transfiguration Church to form the St. Damien of Molokai Parish.
“When the bishop read the letter, three of the four of us wept,” Magone said. “We were absolutely thrilled. The bishop could not have been more gracious.
“We were extremely humbled. And we became very emotional.”
In the letter, Zubik said that in the best interest of the unity of the parish, and after consultation with the Rev. William R. Terza – the St. Damien pastor – the Mass schedule is to now include a regular 4 p.m. anticipated Mass at the St. Anthony building. Both 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses on Sundays will be celebrated at the Transfiguration building, effective the weekend of Dec. 15-16.
“That is a very popular Mass time,” Magone said of the St. Anthony building celebration. “Obviously, we're very humbled, and we came away knowing that we will do everything we can. We want this merger to work.”
Magone said former St. Anthony parishioners have written letters to Zubik over the past few months requesting Masses be re-established.
“He read every word we wrote and referenced things we said in these correspondences several times (Thursday) night,” Magone said.
Angelo Ripepi was present at the Thursday afternoon meeting.
“We're happy about it. It's a step in the direction we want to go,” Ripepi said.
The announcement seeks to unify the combined parish – a source of disunity in the Monongahela Roman Catholic community, Zubik acknowledged.
“As your bishop, I would be less than honest if I didn't tell you how troubled I am when there are serious divisions in a parish,” Zubik wrote in a letter to St. Damien parishioners.
“Believe me, that such realities give me sleepless nights. As your shepherd and as we together are church, we have the serious responsibility of reaching out to each other, especially when there have been disagreements among us.
“As Church, we cannot do less. It is truly sad that even families in your parish have become divided over Church. How tragic! Jesus Himself intends the Church to be the source of unity.”
The diocese began a study more than five years ago that determined there should be three parishes to serve the three communities of Donora, Monongahela and Charleroi.
As a part of that decision, Zubik issued a decree Aug. 15, 2011, establishing St. Damien of Molokai.
The decree stipulated that within 24 months of that date, the new parish should “submit to the diocesan bishop a recommendation regarding the necessity of using two church buildings for worship in the new parish in the context of the pastoral plan of the parish.”
Zubik said in his letter that since the formation of one parish in Monongahela, he has received information of unrest.
“As a result, I called a meeting of representatives of those desiring to restore Saint Anthony's Parish,” Zubik wrote. “I made clear then my firm intention that the decree establishing the new parish will remain in force and that the former parishes of Transfiguration and Saint Anthony no longer exist. There will be no turning back from that decision.”
Those meetings followed protests by nearly 40 parishioners of the former St. Anthony Catholic Church outside the Diocese Pastoral Center on the Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh in June.
“This readjustment of the Mass schedule is made to highlight the critical need for all of Saint Damien of Molokai Parish to work together for greater unity,” Zubik wrote. “The Mass must be the place where that unity begins. From the Mass and the gift of grace that comes with the Eucharist, the faithful have the spiritual resource to build the unity of the parish outside of the church buildings where the faith must be lived. This is a critical time in what I trust will be the long history of Saint Damien of Molokai Parish. Please use this time prayerfully, wisely and in the spirit of the unified community of faith to which Jesus calls us.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 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.
- Torn thumb ligament puts Josh Harrison on DL
- McCandless mom suspected of drowning sons found competent to stand trial
- Pirates get journeyman Ishikawa off waivers; outfielder Marte injured
- PennDOT team decides what spells trouble on vehicle license plates
- Online series recognizes Hampton as top-notch school
- Alle-Kiski farmers: Crops weather heavy rain
- McIlroy, world’s No. 1 golfer, injures ankle playing soccer
- Earnhardt wins rain-delayed Daytona ahead of scary crash
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park in ‘freak accident’
- Carlynton drops golf, adds cross country
- Pittsburgh singer Lee spreads love through music, charitable works