History Repeats Itself! - Buffalo Pittsburgh Diocese, PNCC



History Repeats Itself! - Buffalo Pittsburgh Diocese, PNCC
History Repeats Itself!
You have all heard of
experienced what is
called: “deja vu”. It is the
illusion of having
previously experienced
something actually being
encountered for the first
time. This happens
because of some similar
experience that occurred
in the past of which we
heard or read about. We
sometimes say, “History
is repeating itself”.
This seems to be the situation that is occurring once
again in the Roman Catholic Church where many
ethnic parishes are targeted to be closed. In some
situations, the church has no alternative but to close
a parish because there are just too few members to
financially keep it open. Others are being consolidated
or merged in order to create a new congregation that
will be self-sustaining. The reduced number of
vocations to the priesthood in the secular and religious
orders has caused many dioceses to lose a great
number of their active priests because of age or the
fact that they want to marry and must therefore leave
the priesthood.
The Polish National Catholic Church came into
existence because of similar circumstances over 110
years ago. Our founding fathers not only wanted to
continue to be catholic in faith and worship, but also
wanted to share ownership and a voice in the church
management. There were many other ethnic groups
that caused similar breaks in the Roman Catholic
Church, but only those who were associated with the
PNCC seem to have survived and flourished.
An interesting situation is occurring at St. Adalbert’s
Basilica in Buffalo, NY, where 112 years ago, Holy
Mother of the Rosary Parish was formed as an
independent Catholic Parish. St. Adalbert’s is
scheduled to close. It is an imposing and beautiful
structure standing in a rundown neighborhood of
dwindling members of the parish. The members just
recently met to protest the closing of their parish and
church, and had to hold their meeting in a separate
hall because their own parish center was closed to
Parishes in our Diocese such as St. Barbara’s in
Houtzdale, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Lilly,
Transfiguration in Mount Pleasant and in the Western
Diocese, the Resurrection Parish in Toledo, Ohio, are
present day alternatives and examples for those who
wish to keep their Parish alive as a Catholic
Community, even though they might need to build
a new house of worship. The Church is, after all,
made up of baptized Christians who form the Body
of Christ. The physical structures, as magnificent as
they may be, in time have to be replaced to suit the
needs of the members. Many of our parish
communities have had to relocate, merge or build a
new, because it was the best solution to a problem
that was resolved by the faithful, along with their
We can continue to stand up for our faith with
pride and thanksgiving because we are able to present
an alternative choice to those who feel that their faith
and Church has abandoned them. We continue to be
a viable Catholic Church, with valid and licit apostolic
orders and Sacraments, where the true Body and
Blood of Christ is received at holy Mass. We also
resemble more closely the early Christian Church in
our polity or church governance and management.
Recently, Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement that
Christian bodies that do not possess apostolic
succession cannot be rightly called Churches. The
PNCC is a Church both catholic in teaching and
Apostolic in orders and stands ready as the
“alternative choice” for those who want to preserve
their parish community as has always been known.
Yes, history is repeating itself and we must be ready
to welcome our brothers and sisters who wish to join
us in faith and worship, either as individuals and
families, or as parish communities that wish to affiliate
with us. We are living in exciting times and are being
given the same opportunities of our forefathers to
build again on the solid foundation that they left to
us - Jesus as the Cornerstone, and we, with others,
the building blocks that make the structure grow
solidly in faith and number.
In humble service,
† Thaddeus S. Peplowski, Bishop Ordinary
Greetings from the Holy Trinity Parish
in New Castle, PA
The beautiful season of Easter passed on so quickly.
The Lenten Season gave us all an opportunity to do
some serious reflections on our lives and on how we
can best serve our church, family, and community.
Strength comes to us by willingly participating in the
many prayer services offered by our priest, along
with the many services the Blessed Sacrament Society
members offered the spiritual readings on Wednesday
nights from a book called “Stay with me Lord”.
A busy time for all our parishioners - on March
18th our PTO held its Annual Bingo. Very well
attended. The proceeds go to the School of Christian
Living and social activities offered to our youth. Kim
Clarke, President. Sherrie Firmi, Superintendent.
Speaking of our youth, we had four of our young
people going to holy communion on May 20th.
Communicants: Sara Altieri, Ava Silverman, Aaron
Rubin, Nicholas Clarke. The pages were Luke Holmes
and Margo Silverman. They were prepared for this
very significant time in their lives by Kim Clarke,
Liza Holmes, and Father Senior Marcel. A social time
was held afterwards, at which time the communicants
were given their personal bibles from Cathy Cwynar,
president of the Blessed Sacrament Society.
Another momentous occasion on May 13th was
observed. Three of our Blessed Sacrament members
were honored for their membership of 50 years in
Communion Class with Father Sr. Marcel, Deacon John Hudak,
Teachers: Liza Holmes, Kim Clarke,
Pages: Luke Holmes, Margo Silverman
our society. They were: Olga Koszela, Mary Koszela
and Jane Gorgacz. This was in conjunction with the
Society’s 85th Anniversary. We honor the dedication
of our sisterhood and thank these ladies for their
Our parishioners work like beavers at our many
projects. Shirley Owoc led the “Spring Fling”. There
were many winners. All purchased tickets in great
anticipation. Easter Bazaar attracted many people.
Once again buying delicious food and the many
beautiful crafts. The Geranium Sale finds Mary Ann
Pytlarz deep among geraniums. The sale increases
every year and when they are delivered into the hall
it takes on as a beautiful garden. The food sales are
so successful, never enough is made to meet the
growing demands of our community. We so appreciate
all our volunteers for these projects. Besides our
monthly Pierogi Sale these parishioners give their
time so generously. We may not mention your names
one by one, but dear brothers and sisters, God sees
you one by one.
In May the Blessed Sacrament Society hosted the
community church Women May Fellowship
Luncheon. The Reverend Frederick Gilbert of the
Independent Methodist Church was the speaker.
Subject “The Lord’s Prayer”. Group singing followed.
continued on page 3
Our Communicants enjoying refreshments:
Sara Altieri, Ava Silverman, Nicholas Clarke, Aaron Rubin
Kim Clarke, Teacher
continued from page 2
On May 6th, six of our Blessed Sacrament ladies,
along with Father Senior Marcel Pytlarz and Deacon
John Hudak attended the annual Buffalo-Pittsburgh
Sub-Central Deanery Meeting. This was held at the
Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Youngstown, Ohio.
Rev. Fr. John Rencewicz, pastor. The service of the
Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary was offered by
Father Rencewicz. A delicious dinner was served
followed by the business meeting. The afternoon was
a spiritual uplifting to all for we gather strength from
one another to best serve our parishes. Thank you
Father Rencewicz and the ladies of Warren and
Youngstown parishes.
We, of the parish, have an air of expectancy. Father
Marcel and Maryann Pytlarz are expecting their first
grandchild. Their daughter and son-in-law, Anita and
Marc Ponchione are expecting in July. The excitement
is mounting for all of us. We pray for God’s blessing
to all of them.
Respectfully presented by Jane Wasilewski
Blessed Sacrament Society members observing 50 years
of membership. Deacon John, Cathy Cwynar, Olga Koszela,
Mary Koszela, Fr. Sr. Marcel
Loyal pierogi workers.
Marin Jermakowicz, Lottie Data, Jane Friend, Richard Thorpe
Greetings once again
from Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Holy Week was very meaningful for our parishioners. On Holy Thursday, from noon till midnight and
Good Friday, from noon till 6 pm, our church was
open to the public. Each hour one of the parishioners
took time to be with the Blessed Sacrament. This was
the first year we were able to do this; hopefully it will
Veneration of the cross was held on Good Friday,
along with the opening of the grave. Easter was
celebrated on Saturday, along with a Vigil Service
procession, blessing of the baskets and blessing of
fire. The altar was beautifully adorned with lilies.
continued on page 4
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Lilly had another fun event at the church's
Pavilion. One more money-rama was a big success. All enjoyed the
delicious food. Many money prizes along with door prizes were won
by the patrons.
continued from page 3
May is the month devoted to Mary. May Crowning
was held and Julia Podrasky was the young girl
chosen to do the honors. It was a very meaningful
On Memorial Day, the Lilly Legion once again went
to all the local cemeteries and had a service to honor
our veterans. Our Lady of Mount Carmel was their
first stop. The services ended with a 21-gun salute.
In June we held a blessing of the new steeple in
memory of Neil Waksmunski. Following the Mass,
Fr. Ramzi Musallam, along with the congregation,
processed to the side of the church while praying the
Litany to the Saints. Fr. Ramzi and Neil's parents
went to the roof and blessed the steeple. We were
blessed with good weather and the ceremony was
On Mother's Day, each mother and grandmother
received a blessed flower by Fr. Ramzi Musallam.
Hopefully these flowers are still blooming in our
gardens! Father received scratch-off lottery tickets for
their special Father's Day.
On April 29th we had our "Country Fried Chicken
Dinner". The meal was superb as usual, along with
desserts and drinks. Thanks again to our dedicated
continued on page 5
On June 2nd, Brandi Hershel, one of Our
Lady of Mt. Carmel's members, graduated
from Penn Cambria. She is the daughter
of Emily and William Hershel, Sr. of Lilly.
While at Penn Cambria, Brandi participated in many activities such as National
Honor Society, Pep Cub, Students against
Destructive Decisions, Prom Committee,
Homeroom Representative and was listed
in Who's Who among High School students. She also served as a high school
intern at the State Correctional Institution,
Cresson. While working at the prison, she
learned to be thankful for all that God has
given us, no matter how big or how small.
Brandi was also very active in sports, participating in Varsity track,
soccer and basketball.
Brandi has been an altar server at our church for many years. She
started serving at the altar with Father Ed Mangelsdorf following her
First Communion. She also helped with church dinners, church picnics
and worked at the parish Bingo. By helping the church, Brandi learned
that community service is a great help to the church and community.
Being involved in the community has led her to help the local Girl Scout
troop to prepare projects and teach the girls about helping others.
Along with helping the Girl Scouts, she also volunteers her time at the
local library in the summer to help with the reading program.
Brandi's future plans are to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania
in the fall with an intended major of elementary education. She has
been an asset to her family and our parish. We wish Brandi luck in all
her future endeavors.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Committee 2007
Seated: Fr. Ramzi Musallam, Administrator
1st row: Phyllis Podrasky, Financial Secretary; Brenda Smith, Secretary; James
Smith,Vice Chairman; Lorraine Castel, Treasurer;
Christine Castel, Board Member
Back row: Joseph Podrasky, Chairman; Joseph Leap, Auditor; Diane Waksmunski,
Auditor; Patrick Podrasky, Board Member; Martha Link, Auditor
Absent: Emily Hershel, Board Member
Something new at Our Lady of Mt Carmel
Fish dinners during Lent. Volunteers Patrick L. Podrasky, Elaine Holsberger &
Ann Brown preparing the meals. This project was quite successful
Palm Sunday at Our Lady of Mt Carmel
Lectors Christine Castel and Patrick R. Podrasky preparing to assist Fr. Ramzi
Musallam with the Passion readings. Altar server Brandi Hershel & Lector Ursula
McConnell at the altar.
Fr. Ramzi Musallam distributing palms at Our Lady of Mt Carmel to the
McGuire Family, Tim, Leann & Grace
continued from page 4
cooks and volunteers. Along with the dinner a 50/50
was held; along with the money winnings, 2 tickets
to a future dinner were given.
June10th was our Money-rama, held outside under
the pavilion. This was our 2nd money-rama held this
We were fortunate to sell all of the tickets. The
event lasted all afternoon with a large variety of food
to choose from; nobody in the crowd went hungry.
Without our faithful volunteers, this task wouldn't
be possible. Joe Gribben (our disc jockey) did a great
job once again. Congrats to all the winners!! Even
after the event was over, some people hung around
for more music and fun. Of course, cleanup always
need to be done. Thanks to all those who set up and
tore down.
We will be preparing for our Annual Polish Picnic
on August 19th. So much work to be done; halupki
making has begun.
We lost one of our faithful parishioners, Bernard
George, on May 13th. "Bernie" as he was known, was
an active member of the American Legion and also
very active in the community. "Bernie" will be missed
On June 2nd, Brandi Hershel, one of our church
members, graduated from Penn Cambria.
Congratulations go out to Monica & Andrea
Siedlarczyk for their soccer achievements this year.
Have a happy summer until next edition.
Congratulations to Monica
and Andrea Siedlarczyk.
Monica and Andrea are
members of Our Lady of Mt.
Carmel in Lilly, but they live
in Maryland. Both girls play
soccer for the Upper Chesapeake SC Pride, a yearround club soccer team in
the under-18 division. The
team's hard work and dedication recently earned them
the ranking of #1 in the state
of Maryland and #24 in the
nation, according to USARANK.com, a nationwide
club soccer team rating organization. Monica (17) [on the right], and Andrea (15) [on the left] are
the daughters of Gerry and Laura Siedlarczyk of Abingdon, MD, and
granddaughters of Joe and Phyllis Podrasky, and Helen and the late
Andrew Siedlarczyk, all of Lilly.
Francis & Diane Waksmunski carrying the gifts at the 1st anniversary
Mass for their son, Neil, on the Feast of Corpus Christi at Our Lady of
Mt. Carmel, Lilly.
Fr. Ramzi Musallam blessing the new steeple at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Lilly, built in memory
of Neil Waksmunski. Francis & Diane Waksmunski's son Neil went to serve with our Lord Jesus
1 year ago. The congregation processed to the steeple area while praying the Litany to the Saints.
The Ordination to the Priesthood
of Deacon Gary Spencer
On June 23rd my husband, Deacon Gary Spencer
was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop
Thaddeus Peplowski at Holy Mother of the Rosary
Cathedral in Lancaster, New York.
An Ordination Mass is something everyone should
experience at least once in their life. I say this because
not only is it beautiful but it is also meaningful. I
have know Father Gary for over thirty years and his
ability to commit with his whole heart has been a
source of inspiration to me almost as long as I have
know him.
The Mass began with Deacon Gary processing in
carrying a candle and chasuble. Shortly thereafter
Deacon Spencer was called to step forward by the
Very Reverend Frank Kadryna who was serving as
Arch Deacon. Father Senior Kadryna also sang the
Litany of the Saints and his magnificent voice filled
the Cathedral with piety. During the singing of the
Litany Deacon Gary laid silently prostrate before the
altar. At the conclusion of the Litany Bishop Peplowski
laid his hands on the candidate’s head, and was silent
for a short time. Bishop then prayed aloud, and after
the prayer the chasuble the deacon carried in was
placed on him. The vestment was pinned up in the
back and is not unpinned until near the end of the
Mass. This caused a stir, as many in attendance
wanted to go “fix” the obvious problem that no one
seemed to notice up front!
Bishop Peplowski, a short while later, anointed the
candidates hands with Holy Oil, then bound them
together with a purificator. Bishop addressed the
congregation stating that this same purificator is given
to the priest’s mother and that when she dies the
purificator is placed in the coffin with her.
Next the neo-presbyter is presented with a chalice,
paten, and host, which he touches. He is then invited
to concelebrate Mass with the Bishop.
Near the conclusion of the Mass the newly ordained
is commissioned to absolve sins, and at that time his
chasuble is unpinned and allowed to unfold to its
full length. In a prayer Bishop stated that Father
Gary was clothed with the robe of innocence, and the
congregation breathed a sigh of relief that all was
well. The chasuble was magnificent and worth every
moment of anticipation.
Father Gary then promised to obey Bishop
Peplowski, as well as all his successors, and the Mass
concluded with the new father giving everyone an
individual blessing.
In addition to friends and family in attendance
were Bishop Anthony Mikovsky, Bishop Ordinary of
the Central Dioceses, Auxiliary Bishop of the BuffaloPittsburgh Dioceses, John Mack, the Very Reverend
Frank Kadryna, the Very Reverend Matthew Kubik,
Reverend John Rencewicz II, Reverend Kenneth
Strawhand, Reverend Adam, Deacon Greg Gronn,
and Cleric Adam Egan.
I was asked to read the Lessons for the Mass and
I was very proud to participate. I tried not to get
emotional but when my feelings became too much I
said to myself “don’t mess up your little part in this
big day!” I composed enough to speak, but my legs
were like rubber. I can’t imagine all the thoughts that
may have passed through Father Gary’s mind. I’m
sure his life experience is what got him through.
A reception was held afterward in the Cathedral
Social Hall which was marked by fellowship and
good food.
If you never had a chance to experience an
ordination, I would encourage you to try and attend
Deacon Greg Gronn’s, or in the not too distant future,
Cleric Adam Egan’s.
Thank you to everyone who encouraged and
prayed for Father Gary.
Who’s next?
By Donna Spencer
The Search for Truth Vacation Bible School
With the guidance of Dakota Joe the students of
Holy Mother of the Rosary traveled around the world
in search of the truth. Dakota Jane Kubacki taught
lively songs of praise along with the hand signs that
help us understand that Jesus is the way, the truth
and the life. Dakota Dennis Makowski told the daily
story to help us understand the life and times of Jesus.
Then all the students went to their classrooms for age
appropriate lessons and crafts. Each evening ended
with a snack that tied into the lesson and Dakota Jane
accompanied by Digger the dog, our mascot, tied up
the evening with our praise songs.
It was a lot of fun to participate in Vacation Bible
School as an adult. I loved it as a kid and could see
that some new memories were created for each lucky
participant. Yes, I said “lucky”. Some folks feel they
are lucky when they win a lottery, or bingo game.
But that is such a false feeling when you compare it
to seeing the face of a child hearing someone tell them
about Jesus. Now that’s what I call “Share the Wealth”!
He’s the way, He’s the truth, He’s the life.
Donna Spencer
Holy Cross Church, Johnstown, PA
A Big Hello & Happy Summertime to all our
Bishops, Priests & Parishioners of the Diocese.
It has been a busy six months for Fr. Paul & the
Parishioners of Holy Cross Church in Johnstown.
Our monthly dinners & pierogi making keep Fr.
Paul and the crew quite busy doing these fundraisers.
Some of the other monthly projects include our
Hoagie & Pizza sale along with our Pies & Paska
Bread at Easter time.
The men of the parish including Fr. Paul prepare
a Mother’s Day Breakfast which is enjoyed by all,
and all mothers receive a gift. It’s a nice tradition
that Fr. Paul started when he came to Holy Cross.
Then the ladies take their turn to show their
appreciation for Father’s Day by doing the same.
The month of May brings us to devotions every
Wednesday evening along with benediction to the
Blessed Mother. Her altar is always done so
beautifully by our Fr. Paul and his expertise
decorating. We tell him that he missed his calling,
but then again we just wouldn’t want any other
priest but him.
No sooner we finished the May devotions, into
the month of June we go, with litany and benediction
to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Here again the altar is
decorated to perfection by our Father Paul.
I can’t understand why more people don’t come
to church for these very meaningful devotions. When
it comes to God, they always have some kind of
excuse as to being too busy or something else to do.
Or, could it be, just too lazy to go or care?
Our big fundraiser comes in August, for two days,
when we do the Portage Summerfest. This will be
our 4th year and it takes Father Paul and the crew
three weeks of preparing the food, which includes,
pierogi, haluski, and halupki making. We have
people telling us all the time how good our food is,
and it’s the best taste around. In reply we tell them,
it’s because we put a lot of love into it. When it
comes to homemade food, like the amount of time
and preparing it takes to make these Polish dishes,
people would much rather go and buy it somewhere.
People live too hectic, and have time for nothing.
We need to stop and smell the roses along the way,
as the saying goes.
Come fall, we plan on doing our yearly basket
party. It’s nice to see the large variety of baskets and
the clever ideas that go into some of them. It seems
like this is a big fundraiser, for most churches, and
other organizations. It takes a lot of time and work,
to get all the baskets together, but if we are to build
a new church, as the saying goes, we have only just
begun to get our feet wet.
So with God’s help, and “God” knows we need
it, and Father Paul’s guidance and a lot of cooperation
from the parishioners of the parish, I know we can
do it. If other parishes can do it, then so can we!
Our church will be 90 years old in September of
2008 and is in very bad shape. We must move
forward and not try to put new skin over old bones.
We no sooner fix one thing, then something else
goes wrong. It gets very frustrating because it seems
the same handful of good people are the ones doing
the work and showing Father Paul they care. But if
we are to give Jesus a new home, full cooperation
is needed.
Another fundraiser we do is our Bus Trips to
Seneca Casinos in New York. Our president of the
Ladies Society Pam Crum, takes charge of this and
provides a very well planned trip. The only thing
we can’t get her to do is, guarantee us we will come
back a winner. Maybe someday one of us will hit it
Well I guess I said enough on all our projects here
at Holy Cross in Johnstown. But if anyone out there
has any extra money they don’t know what to do
with, throw it our way. We will be glad to catch it
and put it to good use.
Take Care and God Bless! Love to All.
Barbie Szczechowicz
Father Paul Zomerfeld Celebrates
20 Years of Priesthood
The month of May is not only special for the
Blessed Mother, but also has great meaning for Father
Paul Zomerfeld, who was born May 17, 1953. The
son of the late Edward and Margaret Zomerfeld in
Greenpoint Brooklyn, New York. Father has four
brothers (one of whom is now deceased) and one
Father Paul worked at various jobs and loved to
dance, but the calling to come follow Jesus was
stronger than any feeling he had. Thus he decided
to become a priest. In September of 1982 he entered
the Savonarola Theological Seminary in Scranton,
PA to begin his studies for the next four years. Many
times he wanted to give up, but his determination
and love for God carried him through. And so on
May 13, 1987 he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood,
by Prime Bishop Most Rev. John F. Swantek, in
Scranton, PA.
In each of his parishes Father Paul accomplished
many goals, working with his parishioners, and the
community. So after the fourteen years of service to
the central diocese, Father Paul sought entry into
the Buffalo/Pittsburgh Diocese under the leadership
of Rt. Rev. Thaddeus S. Peplowski Bishop Ordinary.
On June 1st, 2001, Father Paul was appointed
pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Johnstown, PA, where
he remains to the present day. He is very active in
his parish and looking to the future with his
parishioners, has begun the process of rebuilding a
new parish complex in the Richland area of
To celebrate his 20th Anniversary of his priesthood,
the parishioners, family, brother clergy, and many
friends were invited to attend a Mass of
Thanksgiving on May 5th at 2:00 pm at Holy Cross
Parish. A dinner reception followed at the Ace’s
Lounge in Johnstown with all the mentioned above
and local dignitaries attending to continue the
Father Paul received many citations, including
one from Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Mayor
Tom Trigona of Johnstown, State Representative Ed
Wojnaroski, Senator John Wozniak, County
Commissioner P.J. Stevens, Milan Gjurick, and Bill
Harris and Congressman John Murtha.
The parish chairman Leo Fronczek presented
Father Paul on behalf of the parishioners, a gift of
money and an engraved plaque for his service and
hard work to the parish.
The Ladies Society paid for all the expenses of the
dinner reception and the memento each person
received commemorating his 20th Anniversary. Pam
Crum, president of the Society presented Father Paul
with a bouquet of red roses and an engraved plaque
noting his dedication to potato peeling and pierogi
making. He’s the best!
The Vice-Chairman of the parish, Frank
Szczechowicz, made the toast commending Father
Paul for his hard work, dedication, and involvement
with the parishioners of the parish, and also for the
many fund raisers that he started, to bring in money
to be put towards the building of a new parish
church. Frank noted that he’s not only our priest,
but a good friend and listener to all. He’s always
there for us, and that’s important.
continued on page 10
Parishioners, family, and friends receiving Holy Communion during mass at
Father Paul’s 20th Anniversary Celebration at Holy Cross. Father Senior Pytlarz
assisting Father Paul during the full house.
continued from page 9
Music was provided by Polish Bill and Deb
Manara, good friends of Father Paul and Barbie and
Frank Szczechowicz. The honor of the first dance
was given to Father’s sister Bernice. After that all
hell broke loose, with the ladies taking turns to dance
and hug Father.
Father Paul’s family and godchild Bill came in
from Ohio for the celebration. A perfect day from
beginning to end! And one that Father Paul will
never forget as long as he lives, or as long as he has
his memory! God Bless you Father Paul and may
you have a long and happy life. We love you!
Barbie Szczechowicz
Bishop John Mack congratulating Father Paul on his 20th Anniversary
of priesthood at the reception at the Ace’s Lounge in Johnstown,
at the opening ceremony.
A toast being made by the vice-chairman of the parish, Frank Szczechowicz
commending Father Paul for his hard work, service and dedication to the parish,
while Father’s sister Bernice does likewise.
Father Paul accepting the plaque from Pam Crum, president of the Ladies
Society telling him he’s the best potato peeler and pierogi maker we have at
Holy Cross Parish. That brought a big smile to his face!
Father Paul rejoicing and thanking everyone for the celebration that was given
in his honor and for the love from his parish family and friends.
Baptismal Font Refurbished
As our parishes of the Polish National Catholic
Church begin to age, as time passes by, our parish
of Holy Cross in Johnstown, PA is one among many
that needs great attention when it comes to repairs.
After consulting our parish committee and
parishioners, along with our pastor, Father Paul
Zomerfeld, it was decided that it would be wise to
invest in moving and rebuilding, instead of spending
so much money on repairs.
Upon this decision, we now begin to take step
after step in achieving our goal. Among one of the
many steps is the decision to decide what religious
items will be taken to our new church. It was Father
Paul, who brought to our attention that our baptismal
font was very rare and unique, and that there aren’t
too many of this style font left in parishes. And so
Father Paul Zomerfeld and the parishioners of Holy
Cross Parish decided to have the baptismal font
redone rather than to destroy it and buy a new one.
The font is as old as the church, and an antique
as they say. We understand that there is another one
similar to it at the cathedral in Scranton.
The base of the font was cracked in a couple of
places and some of the leaves that were a trim were
missing. The hand of St. John the Baptist was broken
and there were a number of other things that needed
Father Paul found out about a company in
Pittsburgh, PA that does this kind of work, and so
he contacted them. In a matter of a few days, one of
the company’s owners came out to Johnstown to
check it out for us. He told us it could be repaired,
and that no one would believe it would be the same
font when it’s returned.
It took a good six months to have it completed,
with progress reports every so often along the way.
The font arrived after Easter, and oh, how we were
so astonished at the beauty of it. Our eyes could not
believe what they saw.
The base was placed on wheels and the cracks
were no longer there. The leaves and angels were
done in gold trim. The column in the middle was
marbleized with a pink shade cast. It’s too bad the
“ACTS” cannot do color pictures, because the black
and white picture does not do this picture of the
baptismal font the justice it deserves.
With Father Paul, the ANS Society, some of the
parishioners, their families, and some good friends,
the font was paid for in full.
When we build our new church, with the help of
God’s grace, the baptismal font will be a cherished
piece of the church’s past and future.
Take Care and God Bless! Love to All.
Barbie Szczechowicz
The newly restored Baptismal Font at Holy Cross Parish in Johnstown, that
Father Paul and the parishioners chose to save.
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Articles relating to current events
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Societies of the Church Information
ie. Y.M.S. of R., S.A.M.B.S. (A.N.S.),
U.Y.A. (Youth Club), Senior Citizens, etc.
From the Office of the Bishop
The Rev. Father Gary Spencer has been assigned
as Assistant Pastor of Holy Mother of the Rosary
Cathedral, Lancaster, NY and Administrator of Holy
Trinity Parish, Lackawanna, NY. This assignment
takes effect on August 1, 2007.
Office of the Bishop Cont’d
The Rev. Father Kenneth Strawhand, Pastor of St.
Casimir Parish, Rochester, NY was recently
hospitalized and is now recovering from surgery.
Keep him in your prayers.
The Most Rev. John F. Swantek, retired Prime Bishop
and Ordinary of our Diocese was also hospitalized
for the second time in Scranton, PA and is recovering
from his physical problems. Remember him as well
in your prayers.
The Solemnity of Brotherly Love will be celebrated
on Sunday, September 9, 2007 in all Parishes of the
Diocese. A second offering is to be taken for the
support of Spojnia Manor in Waymart, PA.
A Diocesan Clergy Conference will be held on
Monday, September 10, 2007 at 10 am in Erie, PA. All
clergy are required to attend this meeting.
Confirmation will be administered at St. Barbara’s
Parish, Houtzdale, PA on Sunday, September 23, 2007.
The Diocesan Council will hold its fall meeting in
Erie, PA on Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 10 am.
All Council Members are required to attend.
The Solemnity of the Christian Family will be
celebrated on Sunday, October 14, 2007 in all Parishes
of the Diocese.
The Very Rev. Matthew Kubik will enter into full
time retirement on August 1, 2007.
Annual Religious Forum of SAMBS, Central &
Southern Deaneries will be held on Sunday, October
21, 2007 at 3 pm at Holy Trinity Parish, Washington,
Youth Sunday will be commemorated on Sunday,
August 26, 2007. A second offering will be taken for
the National Youth Fund.
Confirmation will be held at Holy Trinity Parish,
McKees Rocks, PA on Sunday, October 21, 2007.