Priest Dies During Mass

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A priest in Northumberland County died Sunday morning while conducting services at his church in Mount Carmel.

Missy Fletcher has fond memories of her priest at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Mount Carmel. She said Father Ronald Lausch was known for his booming voice.

"Listening to him sing I would get the goosebumps," Fletcher said. She will not hear her beloved priest sing anymore. Father Lausch died at the altar on Sunday while conducting mass. "He was the most amazing person. He's what a priest should be. It's just so hard to put into words what he is and what he meant."

Church members said Father Lausch was a priest in Mount Carmel and also at a church in Shamokin for 15 years. He died of a heart attack while singing during mass on Sunday.

Emily Dill said Father Lausch had another heart attack during a mass several years ago. She knew the priest for 12 years.

"Anybody who walked in that door for the first time he took over and greeted them like he knew them forever. That's just how father was," Dill said.

Church members said Father Lausch is responsible for starting a food pantry in Mount Carmel, and organizing Saturday night suppers every week in Mount Carmel and Shamokin.

"He loved doing that. He loved giving to the community. He loved giving to everybody," Fletcher said.

"And they will continue on. I'm sure he would not want us to stop them so we will continue them," Dill added. She said Father Lausch wanted to die while serving God.

His funeral will be held Thursday in Lebanon.

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