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Kawecki the pastor for merged Everson, Scottdale parishes

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:04 p.m.
Rachel basinger | For The Independent-Observer
The Rev. Andrew Kawecki has taken on the role of pastor for St. Joseph’s and St. John the Baptist churches in Scottdale.

The Diocese of Greensburg recently made the decision to make St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Everson and St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Scottdale partner parishes.

And while there will be just one priest who will serve both parishes, diocese spokesman Jerry Zufelt said the parishes will remain separate.

“The primary reasons for the decision that was made by Bishop Brandt were the declining number of priests, the aging of our priests and a declining number of attendance,” he said. “He felt we could better allocate the spiritual and personnel resources of the diocese.”

The diocese also did a few other parish partnerships in the Greensburg area including St. Paul with St. Bruno and Our Lady of Grace with St. Benedict.

“We just don't have enough priests to pastor every parish,” Zufelt said.

The Rev. Andrew Kawecki has taken on the role of pastor for St. Joseph's and St. John the Baptist.

Kawecki was born in Poland, but completed his schooling in the United States. He was ordained in 1980 for the Diocese of Greensburg and his last assignment was pastor of the partner parish of St. Cyril and Methodius in Fairchance and St. Hubert in Point Marion.

He is no stranger to partner parishes, although this is his first time in the Fay-West area.

“So far it's been wonderful,” Kawecki said. “There are wonderful people and the area is a great one to explore and see.

Kawecki arrived June 25 and has had the opportunity to perform Mass at both parishes.

“I think the people are very open and ready for the partnership, and we will build on that,” he said. “While they will share a pastor and a Eucharist, the parishes will retain their identities.”

The challenge for Kawecki right now is simply to get moved in and to combine those things between the two parishes, such as administration efforts.

Masses are scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. Sundays at St. John's as well as 8:30 p.m. on Sundays at St. Joseph's.

“But parishioners are certainly welcome to attend any Mass they would like no matter which parish they are used to attending,” Kawecki said.

“I'm looking forward to uniting the parishes more and to serve them and be their pastor,” he said. “The people are very great and warm and kind in both of the churches.”

The formal installation ceremony for Kawecki will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, July 29, in St. John's by Bishop Lawrence Brandt.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.