Sunday, June 06, 2010
St. Stanislaus: Closed
Today was the closing mass at St. Stanislaus Church in Nanticoke, PA. It was the oldest Catholic church in Nanticoke, and now it's gone.
It was a surprisingly emotional day for all involved. I didn't expect to be so moved by the closing. I spent some time in this church during my grade school years, but hadn't been in it more than two or three times in the last two decades until last year. But I found it to be a very comfortable and pleasant place, and I realized how heartbreaking it must be for the parishioners to have to move on to either the Primary Worship Site of the combined St. Faustina parish, the imposingly huge and surprisingly uncomfortable building formerly known as Holy Trinity Church, or to the Alternate Worship Site at the former St. Mary's Church.
(Note: In the photo above, the tilt of the building is not an optical illusion or trick of my camera lens. The building really is pitching forward. Note the slope along the ridgeline of the roof.)
I have covered some of the interior features of St. Stanislaus Church in a previous post. But as I was sitting in a different location than the one where I took my previous pictures, I was able to get a different view of the place. This picture captures some of the stained glass windows (modern ones installed about fifteen years ago), the ornate hanging lights, the large ceiling painting, the painting of St. Stanislaus behind the main altar, and a few of the many statues that are featured in this church.
The light from a stained glass window reflects off a well-worn pew. I do not know if these pews are as old as the church itself, but many parishioners have sat in this pew over the decades.
Last Light. This image was taken after the ceremony was over, as parishioners milled about taking pictures and having one last look around. Here, Western light (this was about 4:30 in the afternoon or so) is broken up by the stained glass windows and streams through the lingering smoke from incense.
The Reverend Brian Van Fossen, a son of the parish of St. Stanislaus, gave the homily at today's mass. In it, he recounted the Nanticoke of his youth - he is a few years younger than me - and the Nanticoke he heard of in old-timers' stories way back then. He recalled the coal mines that were once in town, and the stores and banks and bars that once lined Main and Market streets, and the old hangouts - the bowling alleys, the schools, the State Theater, Skatarama. All gone. Things have changed from the way they were back then.
Now St. Stanislaus is closed.
In three weeks the closing mass will be held at Holy Child in Sheatown.
And tomorrow, I have heard, the old St. Francis Church will be demolished.