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Lighting up Connellsville's night skies

| Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 10:11 p.m.
Immaculate Conception Church on Crawford Avenue in Connellsville is now illuminated at night. The lighting project was made possible through a donation from parishioner Dr. Richard Grimaldi in memory of his parents. The Rev. Robert Lubic, church pastor, braved the rain on Friday for a blessing/dedication ceremony of the illumination project. Lori C. Padilla/For the Daily Courier
Submitted photo This photo shows some of the ambulance crews from the Pennsylvania Strike Force entering Jersey City after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in the beginning of November. Dec. 4. 2012

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church is helping to light the night of the evening skies over Connellsville.

The church, located on East Crawford Avenue, recently installed three lights that illuminate the west side of the building.

Church members, led by their pastor, the Rev. Robert Lubic, on Friday, held a blessing and dedication ceremony.

The lights turn on at dusk and remain lit until around midnight every night.

Immaculate Conception is the fifth church in town to be illuminated.

Wesley United Methodist Church, Otterbein United Methodist Church and Central Fellowship Church, all are illuminated at night.

St. Rita Roman Catholic Church, located on the city's West Side, dedicated its outdoor exterior lighting this summer.

“St. Rita's looks so nice and we thought it would also be great to be able to do Immaculate conception,” Lubic said. “I think that it looks great.”

The project was made possible through a donation by parishioner Dr. Richard Grimaldi. Grimaldi made the donation for the lighting project in memory of his parents, Anthony and Marie Grimaldi, who were lifelong Connellsville residents.

“They were parishioners here,” Grimaldi said.

Grimaldi said he was so impressed with the lighting at St. Rita's that he offered to donate money to have something similar done at his parish, Immaculate Conception. “I think that this looks just wonderful. It now looks so pretty.”

The idea of the lighting of churches in the city was introduced by Connellsville resident Marilyn Weaver.

Weaver's dream of having all churches in Connellsville be lit up began several years ago on a trip to Cumberland, Md. with a group of local leaders who met with Cumberland business owners and officials to discuss their successes in revitalizing their downtown.

As the group was leaving Cumberland, Weaver looked back and saw all the churches lit. She knew it was something Connellsville could do.

Two years ago, on Sept. 12, Weaver was able to light the steeple at Wesley United Methodist Church. It was in honor of her mother, the late Ethlynne Weaver Schultz.

The lighting for Wesley, St. Rita and Immaculate Conception was completed by local electrician Ron Rulli.

Rulli said he had help from several workers and also Scott Electric salesman Joel Petri who helped to design the lighting for the Immaculate Conception project.

“We installed the three lights here and they are new lights called Pulstar,” Rulli said. Rulli said the middle light is a 400-watt bulb that is flanked by two 350-watt bulbs.

Rulli said about five days were spent preparing and installing the lights, digging footers and placing the lights strategically so that they shine up the entire side of the church.

“Mother Nature didn't want to cooperate with us much but we got it done,” Rulli said. “I think it looks nice.”

Lubic dedicated and blessed the new lights. He said it is a “great addition to the illumination of the city.”

“People coming into town will now see these wonderful lights as they light up our town,” Lubic said.

Lubic hopes that one day, the third operating Catholic church in Connellsville, St. John the Evangelist, located at the corner of West Crawford Avenue and Eighth Street, will have a similar type of lighting installed that will enhance that historic church, adding even more of a glow to the nights in the city of Connellsville.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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