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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
             Tuesday, September 16 2003  

A 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.

Celebrating the mass, Bishop Joseph Adamec is flanked by Deacon Jim Janosik, left, and Fr. David Peles, right.

Beginning 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.

During 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.

"There 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."

After 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."

Pope 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 21, 2003.

Immediately 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 her.

Beginning 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.

The following is a letter from Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua which has been included in the centennial booklet:

Dear Father Peles;

On 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 much!

I 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.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
Archbishop of Philadelphia

Dinner guests in Mundys Corner's St. John Vianny's Church social hall.

As 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!"

Click here for a page of photos of the celebration.

Click here for the first of three articles about St. Mary's Church centennial activities.

Click here for the second article.


If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now or On Their Way, please write Judy Rose.

Click here for an index of other Where Are They Now profiles in this series.

Flying humor - 2

In light of all the recent air security that has been put in place, crew members try to lighten the mood once folks get on board. Here's how they make the in-flight "safety lecture" and their other announcements a bit more entertaining. These are real examples that have been heard or reported.

From a Southwest Airlines employee (Continued): "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child...pick your favorite."

—Sent by Trudy Myers 

Thought for today

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought that they seldom use.

— Soren Kierkegaard

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