March 30, 2021

New Kensington, Pa – Bishop Larry Kulick made a series of announcements today that will assist St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish, New Kensington, to begin the restoration process on their church building. On April 8, 2020, the church building was struck by a tornado, causing extreme damage to the bell tower, steeple and roof. Immediate steps were taken to secure the structure, including the installation of a temporary roof to prevent further damage to the interior of the church. Over the last several months, working alongside the parish pastor, Monsignor Michael Begolly, Bishop Kulick has devised a comprehensive strategy for the region.

Utilizing the insurance funds of approximately $2.1 million received by St. Mary of Czestochowa, Bishop Kulick has granted permission for the church building to be restored. Bishop Kulick is extremely thankful for the leadership Monsignor Begolly has provided to the faith community during this difficult time, including his constant communication about the status of the church building.

“Compounding the devastation of this tragic storm, was its timing. The tornado damaged the church during Holy Week of 2020, a time when most of the world was locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My prayers have been with Monsignor Begolly and the parishioners and I thank them for the patience, understanding and cooperation. They have remained a parish, even without a church building, for almost ayear, Bishop Kulick said.


The rebuilding process is expected to be intensely complex and reinvigorating the parish community will be an important priority. Both Bishop Kulick and Monsignor Begolly believe this is an optimal time to transition leadership in an effort to provide long-term continuity and stability for the New Kensington region. To that end, Bishop Kulick also made the following announcements.

• Effective with the summer clergy appointments, Monsignor Michael Begolly will be appointed pastor of Mother of Sorrows Parish, Murrysville, replacing Monsignor James Gaston who, at the age of 75, requested and was granted retirement. 
• To replace Monsignor Begolly who has served 16 years in New Kensington, Bishop Kulick has appointed Fr. Kenneth G. Zaccagnini as pastor of St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish, St. Joseph Parish and Mount St. Peter Parish, all in New Kensington, while remaining pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish, Lower Burrell effective with the summer clergy appointments.
• Also, in these assignments, additional clergy assistance will be provided to the parishes.  
• While the summer clergy appointments are still several months away, Bishop Kulick wants to expedite the restoration process. As a result, Fr. Zaccagnini will assume the role of Bishop’s Liaison for Restoration effective immediately.

“I am grateful to the faithful people of New Kensington for their support over the last year, as we worked side by side with the Diocese of Greensburg, insurance adjustors and building inspectors to assess the damage and determine next steps. Now that the Bishop has given permission to move forward on restoring the church, I am certain there will be a lot of excitement and energy surrounding these efforts,” Begolly said. 

Both Monsignor Begolly and Fr. Zaccagnini are open to these changes and are excited to accept their new assignments.

I am thankful to Monsignor Begolly, who oversaw many important details, especially encasing the beautiful wooden carved altars to preserve them. I look forward to seeing the church restored and the pews full of parishioners as soon as possible,” said Fr. Zaccagnini.

Bishop Kulick said to parishioners of St. Mary of Czestochowa“This time last year, I know it was easy for you as a parish community to focus on Good Friday because of your devastating loss. This year, I call your thoughts to the paschal mystery on Easter Sunday and ask you to focus on the resurrection of Christ and your beautiful church.”


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