Friday, July 25, 2014

St. Joseph’s Church holds final Mass

August 25. 2013 11:29PM

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WYOMING — The will of God is hard to understand, the Rev. Walter Skiba explained to the congregation of his church on Sunday.

After 99 years in the borough, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church closed its doors for the last time Sunday. Skiba, the pastor there from 1981 until retiring in 2006, gave the homily during the final Mass.

He spoke of Scripture’s most trying moments when Jesus had to yield to God’s will. In the end, he said, God blesses those who persevere.

Due to declining attendance, St. Joseph’s consolidated with Our Lady of Sorrows in 2010 under the new name, St. Monica’s Parish. The Rev. Leo McKernan led both churches, directing Mass at St. Joseph’s once weekly.

Our Lady of Sorrows along West 8th Street is now the primary site of St. Monica’s.

St. Joseph’s was founded in 1914 by a group of Polish Catholics.

Above the congregation, the well-known St. Joseph’s choir sang out hymns accompanied by St. Joseph’s world-class pipe organ.

Four Knights of Columbus — Pittston Council, JFK Assembly, decked out in their fine regalia, swords glistening — heralded the final Mass.

The common sounds of parents shushing children in the pews were heard just like during any other service, but the chanted prayers sounded a bit more melancholy as parishioners young and old said them one last time in their church.

An old usher with misty eyes wiped his nose. Nodding his head, he agreed that the old Polish recitations spoken from the loft above sounded beautiful.

In a Scripture reading, lector Walter Bednar read a passage from the book of Isaiah to the congregation of about 200 that the Lord will bring all his people together in one place, encouraging them that the bright and spacious sanctuary they were sad to leave is only a temporary stop, anyway.

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