Former Lithuanian Catholic Church Demolished

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DURYEA – Former congregation members of St. Joseph’s Church snapped pictures as contractors demolished the building on Lackawanna Avenue Tuesday morning.

The Diocese of Scranton consolidated the Catholic Lithuanian church in 2010 with Nativity of Our Lord Parish.

Henry Jacobs told Newswatch 16 that he served as an altar boy at St. Joseph’s as a child and had mixed emotions when he saw the church come down.

“I grew up in Duryea, I used to serve at Saint Joseph's here. I used to walk to mass every day when I was an altar boy,” said Jacobs. “It's just sad to see it going.”

Marie Yonushka said she was saddened to see an important part of her Lithuanian heritage dismantled and she wonders about what will happen to the property across the street from her home.

"It was very important for us to have a Lithuanian church right here in our midst, because it was one that like many of the other churches, we stood together and we did everything as one congregation,” said Yonushka. “I live right across the street so I saw it every day. Now I’m just going to be looking at an open space. Time will tell what’s going to happen."

Diocese officials said the alter and pews were donated to Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre before the church was demolished, and that the parish has not yet made a decision about what it will do with the property in Luzerne County.