Bishop celebrates 10th anniversary of both St. Francis of Assisi Parish and pope’s election
By Melissa Williams Brown
MASONTOWN – Bishop Larry J. Kulick celebrated Mass at the Masontown site of St. Francis of Assisi Parish March 18 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the merging of the former faith communities of All Saints, Holy Rosary, Madonna of Czestochowa, St. Mary, St. Procopius and St. Thomas parishes.
The celebration not only commemorated the formation of the parish 10 years ago, but the 10th anniversary of the election and installation of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Bishop Kulick told parishioners during his homily that he was grateful, humbled and honored to be with them for such a special day in their parish community, realizing the past 10 years have not been easy for them. It reflects the cross the parishioners were called to carry. He thanked Father Marlon Pates, Pastor, and Father William G. Berkey, former Pastor, for sacrifices made during changes.
Father Pates expressed his gratitude for being pastor and said the celebration of the 10th anniversary would not be possible without the grace of God and “our beloved Bishop Kulick, who is always a phone call away to help me and our international priests.” He also thanked Father Berkey, who he said is an inspiration, and the parish’s choir for their angelic voices. He thanked the pastoral council, Father Arnel Tadeo, shared Parochial Vicar, and the Knights of Columbus for their generosity.
Bishop Kulick acknowledged and thanked parishioners for their service to the parish and for dedicating themselves to the task that was asked of them.
“We are moving forward so our faith can grow. We need to be ambassadors, and great things will happen in Western Fayette County. We need your prayers. My commitment is to be with you, and to walk with you and make this region the best that it can be,” he said.
When the parish was named, there was no other in the Diocese of Greensburg named for St. Francis. It’s also the first time in 2,000 years of the church that the pontiff has taken the name of Francis.
“The pope guides us as a universal pastor,” Bishop Kulick said.