20 churches express interest in monuments
St. John's Roman Catholic Church in the city's West Side will be the first of possibly 20 churches to have a Ten Commandments stone monument placed outside on its property.
The Rev. Ewing Marietta announced during a rally this week of Thou Shall Not Move — a newly named group fighting to keep a Ten Commandments monument at Connellsville Junior High School — that the group is hoping the monument can be placed in front of the Roman Catholic church before Christmas.
He said St. John's will be the first of possibly 20 churches to erect a monument.
The Rev. Robert Lubic, pastor of St. John's, said the church approved the request after being approached and asked if it would like to be the first to have a monument erected on its property.
“We were asked if we wanted to have the first one, and I believe it's an important cause supporting religious freedoms,” he said.
“We really couldn't have had a busier intersection for the first one,” Marietta said.
The church is at the intersection of Route 119 and West Crawford Avenue, across from the Sheetz store.
The interested churches are on a list that would have the memorial fund pay for the cost of the monument, which is $1,685. The churches would pay only $144 for installation, Marietta said.
Money for the memorial fund was raised through various fundraising efforts, including the sale of Ten Commandments signs and shirts and other items. Any church officials that want a Ten Commandments monument can be placed on the list by calling Marietta at 724-626-1265.
Ten Commandments yard signs are available for $10 each and can be purchased at South Side Grocer, West Side News and West Side Jewelry in Connellsville; Miller's Grocery in Normalville; Resh's Grocery in Champion; Bradys Restaurant and Family Dollar in Donegal; Attorney Karen Kiefer's in Scottdale; Colorama and Joe Fida's in Uniontown; and Resurrection Bible Church in Waynesburg.
Shirts with the logo “Rock of Liberty” also can be purchased soon, but Marietta did not know the exact time.
Yard signs are $3 and shirts are $5. All sales will go into the fund to fight the pending lawsuit.
Connellsville Area School District was informed earlier this year by an attorney from Pittsburgh that the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, as well as an unnamed district resident, were asking the district to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the Connellsville Junior High School.
The monument had been on the school's grounds for more than 50 years and was a gift from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
On Sept. 26, a lawsuit was filed against the school district.
The monument is covered now.
Connellsville Area School Board members in October appointed Andrews and Price LLC of Pittsburgh as special legal counsel in the battle over the Ten Commandments monument.
Attempts to reach district solicitor Christopher Stern were unsuccessful.
The next rally will be held 6 p.m. Thursday — the final December meeting. Marietta said the group will come together sometime in January.
Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.