Bishop Kulick Celebrates Reopening Mass at Saint Mary of Czestochowa
By Cliff Gorski
Executive Editor of the Catholic Accent
NEW KENSINGTON – NOV 27 – Bishop Larry J. Kulick said it was a great day for rejoicing as he celebrated a Reopening Mass at St. Mary of Czestochowa Church in New Kensington. During the Mass, Bishop Kulick announced that the last issues regarding repair of the roof and bell tower on the church have been settled and completion of the restoration of the church building is now in sight.
In April of 2020, a tornado, with winds of up to 100 miles an hour tore off a section of the roof on the church building and caused damage to its bell tower. Heavy rains and high winds stalled over the area for several days, resulting in interior damage. In all, the storm caused over $3 million in damage to the church building, bell tower and roof.
Restoration work began in December, 2021. Last August, Bishop Kulick held a news conference to announce the interior restoration work had progressed enough to safely reopen the church with a Mass on Nov. 27.
After blessing the renovated walls of the parish, the sanctuary, tabernacle and altar, Bishop Kulick told the more than 300 people in attendance that on this, the first day of Advent, as the Church begins a new liturgical year the parish begins a new future.
Bishop Kulick thanked the parishioners for their patience and their faith through the damage caused by the storm, the delays caused by COVID-19 and supply and labor shortages and insurance negotiations and delays.
In recalling the generations of Polish immigrants who were a unifying force in building the parish, Bishop Kulick likened the storm and its damage to their long history of overcoming obstacles through faith.
“This restoration is much more than the restoration of a beautiful edifice. This restoration is a sign that we are a people of faith and we put our faith in God,” Bishop Kulick said.
The Bishop asked the faithful to think about the music and prayers that have been absorbed into the walls of Saint Mary of Czestochowa over the decades and instructed parishioners that they now have a responsibility to fill the pews.
“Many of you have been baptized here, were married here, and buried loved ones from this parish,” Bishop Kulick said. “I am simply asking you to be a catalyst to rekindle the love for this church, of Christ, and of the Eucharist.”
Father Kenneth G. Zaccagnini, Pastor, said 85 parishioners passed away from the time time the storm closed the church until now. He is planning a Mass of Remembrance on March 25, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. for those who could not be buried from the parish during its closure.