Father Shane Kirby and Father David Bechtel are to be commended for the good job that then did in planning the closing of MD Church. The final Mass at Mater Dolorosa Church was "Solemn" but "UP LIFTING" in many ways.
The Knights Of Columbus was a very impressive addition to the day all of us were not looking forward to. It was sad to bring this closing to MD Church in Williamsport as well as to Ascension Church in Newberry but we knew that this day was coming and we were looking forward to it. For myself, I am not Italian but as a former member of the MD Church I went to the closing one hour before the service.
I sit in the front pew praying and reflecting on many Masses I attended. Many times I took the gifts to the altar. I also was remembering my wedding day having my family and friends to join in the festivities. I also remember a sad day when I had the funeral for my beloved husband.
Father John Manno was right when he brought to the attention of the Parishioners that the church will always be on sacred ground. He named many of the Italian Families that was a big part in the MD Church. Frank Girardi, Tony DiSalvo, and Anthony Cimini were just a few of the people who were part of the MD congregation. He also talked about Father Manley and Monsignor Costellano who served MD Church and made it what it was today.
Many of the older Italian Parishioners were in attendance and understood just why this had to be done. Father Manno mentioned how somber and heart-wrenching the day was but to remember "A little bread, a little wine, and we're fine". The closing of our beloved church is hard to except but the reality of why it had to close is also very hard to accept.
There were also 3 priests in attendance that had come out of the congregation Father John Manno, Father Michael McCormick, and Father Cummings. In attendance was Father McCreary, the Vicor for our area, Father Ed Michelini, who served as administrator for one year, and Deacon Morris Smith.
The church closing was not a celebration but parishioners gathering with friends and family to say good bye to an era and to reflect on ancestors who had founded the church and raised their families. Many tears were shed during the closing but we knew that the time had come for us as parishioners to move on.
Following the ceremony we gathered in the hall to a lovely buffet lunch catered by Joe Bongiovi with appropriate Italian food. We talked about times past in the hall and again many memories were revealed and shared along with many more tears.
Parishioners that were not in attendance missed a beautiful farewell service and the ones who did attend have a beautiful and loving memory to always have of the final mass at Mater Dolorosa Church.
Sally L. Wiegand
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom