October 7, 2007
Today was a very sad day in Ashley, PA. Today was the Feast of the Holy Rosary and the last Mass at Holy Rosary Slovensko Rim. Kath. Kostal. (Holy Rosary Slovak Roman Catholic Church).
Holy Rosary merged with St. Leo's. I remember playing basketball against St. Leo\'s in their gym - now St. Leo's School is long gone, just an empty lot.
The priest said there were only 100 families left at Holy Rosary. I knew there was something wrong when I did not see the signs for the annual bazaar.
The region's population contiues to shink - the older people are dying and the younger ones move away to find work. The youger ones don't attend church regularly. There are just too many empty churches and not enough people to pay for upkeep.
Anyway they had the last mass today. At 2 they had closing services and the oldest parishioners locked the doors. The congregation processed with the Holy Eucharist down the street to St. Leo's where the parishioners of St. Leo's welcomed them.
From what I understood, like so many merged parishes, they were already sharing the priest and the parisoners attended masses at both churches.
The church looked like a Byzantine Rite Church in that there was ornate paintings on the ceilings and floral borders along the walls.
The back altar was ornate and it still had the old, old style hanging sanctuary lamp, like most Byzantine Rite Churches have.
To be sure, almost all of the R.C. Churches from Nanticoke to Carbondale had these ornate back altars and are truly works of art.
I was lucky to get an old Slovak missal from the 1940s-50s. The covers were missing, but it has most of the pre-Vatican II Latin prayers translated into Slovak. It was on a table in the back for 3 months in a plastic bag. I found a dollar in it and put it in the poor box. I figured no one wanted it and since I would actually read it, I took it.
Best wishes to the parishioners.
Vicnaja Pamjat !!!
(Eternal Memory, in High Slavonic)