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Transfiguration of Our Lord Church celebrates a decade

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Parishioners of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Polish National Catholic Church on Saturday will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the place of worship.

The date will be marked with a Mass, followed by a dinner in honor of the work accomplished by the congregation over the past decade.

“We've come a long way,” said Ann Rosky, a member of the church's board of directors and council secretary.

“We're proud of our accomplishments these last 10 years,” she said.

The Transfiguration Roman Catholic Church in Mt. Pleasant Borough was demolished in 2002 after it was deemed unsafe due to structural damage.

At that time, the church's parish was dissolved, leaving its 1,500 parishioners without a place of worship.

When a number of members began attending Mass at the McKeesport Holy Family Polish National Catholic Church, part of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo Diocese of the Polish National Catholic Church, the parish decided to resurrect Transfiguration as an independent Polish National Church.

In October 2003, the parish was declared an official member of the church by the Rev. Thaddeus Peplowski, bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo-Pittsburgh.

“We said we were going to start a church, and we did,” Rosky said.

To stay local, the new parish began holding services at First United Church of Christ in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday evenings.

“We're grateful to this day to the Rev. Paul Sarver and the First United Church of Christ congregation,” Rosky said. “They welcomed us with open arms.”

After leasing the space for four years, members set out to find a church they could call their own.

Parishioners purchased the building formerly occupied by Rainbow Gardens — a bar and banquet hall.

“We wanted a place to call home,” said Daniel Levendusky, chairman of the church's council.

The renovation process was slow and steady, with parish members completing much of the work.

“We were fortunate to have parishioners who had the skill to do the work,” Levendusky said.

The building was gutted and remodeled, the bathrooms were moved and an entrance way was constructed.

Parishioners refinished donated pews and held fundraisers to purchase supplies and kitchen equipment.

“We didn't have a penny to start with,” Levendusky said. “But with Christ's guidance look what we did. It's a true testament of where your faith can take you.”

More recently, a new roof and an addition that will become an office have been added. Plans to construct a new sidewalk are in the works.

“It's been an uphill battle, but we are just so proud of all the work we've done,” Rosky said.

“We're one big, happy family and everyone contributes. When we have a fundraiser dinner, the president is there peeling potatoes just like everyone else,” she said.

In addition to the hard work church members have done to secure their own place of worship, they also strive to work hard serving the community.

They regularly contribute to care packages distributed to the needy, help the Salvation Army by ringing bells during the Christmas season, and buy gifts for local children who might otherwise do without, and they collect for local food banks.

The church has a rotating schedule of four different priests who conduct Mass.

Rosky said the parishioners enjoy having the different priests, as it accommodates all the different personalities of the congregation.

“I'm proud of them,” said the Rev. Bruce Sleczkowski, the church's administrator and one of the priests who regularly hold services at the church. “I see their Catholic faith and witness them demonstrating Christian love to each other and their community. It's a joy to be with them,” he said.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.