grand birthday celebration
for a grand lady, Nanty Glo's
St. Mary's parish
Sunday, September 7 marked the end of the year-long centennial celebration of
Nanty Glo's St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church.
the mass, Bishop Joseph Adamec is flanked by Deacon Jim Janosik, left, and Fr.
David Peles, right.|
at 2 p.m. as the sunlight filtered through her beautiful stained glass windows,
a procession that began with acolytes young and old wearing blue cassocks; an
honor guard of Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus sporting black tuxedoes, colorful
ceremonial capes, and white-plumed regalia chapeaus; Catholic clergy in white
cassocks, and mass celebrant, the Most Rev. Joseph V. Adamec, Bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown
diocese in his gold and white hierarchical vestments proceeded down the center
isle to begin the mass that would bring to an end the centennial celebration for
St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church.
his welcoming remarks, Fr. David Peles said, "Today we gather as a family to do
three things: to remember, to celebrate, and to pray." The following are excerpts
from Fr. Peles' message: "With hearts full of joy, we pause to remember the humble
beginnings of our church. We recall how our ancestors, from their various cultures
and ethnic backgrounds, united together to form the Catholic Church in this Blacklick
Valley. A place where they could gather as a family, a place where they could
gather to share their faith in God, a place where they could gather to hear the
word Of God and to eat His Body and Blood. A place where they could gather to
celebrate the sacraments and bury their dead.
are no records of the number and variety of prayers offered between sunrise and
sunset on a single day, no record of the number of masses that offered praise
and thanksgiving to God, no record of sinners forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation,
no record of those who received the Bread of Life on a daily basis, no record
of the number of tears of sorrow and joy that fell from the cheeks of the faithful.
This is the silent part of a parish's history, the silent interaction between
earth and heaven, known only to God.
"Today we gather as a parish family, along with Bishop Adamec, the clergy of Altoona-Johnstown,
religious and guests, to celebrate and to give thanks to God through the intercession
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patroness of our church, on the occasion of our
100th anniversary. For years, we have honored Our Lady under the title of Our
Lady of Perpetual Help, and she certainly has been our help, our inspiration,
our model of discipleship and prayer, our beacon to the future."
Fr. David Peles' welcoming address, Bishop Adamec took his position at the alter
to serve the centennial mass to the filled-to-capacity church. Scores of parishioners
lined the center isle to receive communion from the Bishop. In his address to
the congregation, Bishop Adamec praised St. Mary's family of parishioners and
related that he often cited the Nanty Glo parish as an example of "All that is
good within the church."
John Paul ll sent a papal blessing which Fr. Peles read to the congregation: His
holiness John Paul II cordially imparts the requested Apostolic Blessing to the
Rev. David S. Peles, Pastor, and the Parishioners of Saint Mary Church Nanty Glo,
Pennsylvania, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of its Dedication June
following the mass, the congregation gathered around the statue of the Blessed
Virgin Mary which had been placed in the small outdoor garden area adjoining the
church.And with a cloud of incense drifting around her, she seemingly gazed down
on the gathered faithful parishioners as Bishop Adamec bestowed a blessing upon
at 4 p.m., a parish dinner was held in the social hall of St. John Vianny Roman
Catholic Church on Rt. 271 in Mundys Corner, where a group that numbered approximately
350 well-wishers, clergy, and guests gathered together to socialize and give thanks
to God and each other for the successful year-long centennial celebration, a home-coming
of sorts, where past and present members of St. Mary's gathered to relive memories,
renew friendships, and enjoy the fellowship. Mr. John Kupchella was Master of
Ceremonies and Father Peles was quick to give thanks and praise to all those dedicated
individuals who had given of their time and talent to make the centennial year
a huge success. The kitchen staff of St. John Vianny are to be commended for their
delicious roast beef-chicken dinner and for making their Nanty Glo neighbors welcome.
following is a letter from Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua which has been included
in the centennial booklet:
the happy occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Church of Saint
Mary Parish in Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, I am grateful for the opportunity to express
my sincere congratulations and prayerful best wishes.
This special celebration in the life of your parish provides a fitting occasion
for you and your parishioners to give thanks and praise to God for the many blessings
He has bestowed upon your parish throughout the past 100 years.
With an admirable faith and a sincere love, the people of Saint Mary Parish prayed
together and worshipped together. They have listened to the voice of God in their
lives and have grown in the knowledge and love of the Lord. They have shared moments
of joy and sorrow and have celebrated together the realities of life and death.
And in every circumstance, they have encountered a God who has loved them very
shall pray that God will bless you and all the faithful parishioners of Saint
Mary Parish with an abundance of happiness, grace and peace. May the lord bring
to fulfillment the good work He has begun in you.
yours in Christ,
Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
Archbishop of Philadelphia
guests in Mundys Corner's St. John Vianny's Church social hall.|
a final note, and in the words of Monsignor John J. Little who was the pastor
of St. Mary's until Fr. Peles took over in 2001: "You look good for a hundred!"
here for a page of photos of the celebration.
here for the first of three articles about St. Mary's Church centennial activities.
here for the second article.
you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now or On Their Way, please
write Judy Rose.
for an index of other Where Are They Now profiles in this series.