Closed Catholic Church Reopens with Different Form of Worship
PITTSTON — A Catholic church in Luzerne County that closed last year as part of the Diocese of Scranton’s consolidation plan has reopened.
But St. Rocco’s in Pittston is now under another name and the church now follows another form of Christianity.
The building is now called St. Irene Russian Orthodox Abroad.
“It’s very welcoming. It’s beautiful. It’s God’s holy church, so I’m excited to be here,” said Bishop Ramzi Musallam of the Catholic Church of the East.
The church bought the building from the Diocese of Scranton for about $70,000.
But some former parishioners of St. Rocco’s still worship here.
While Roman Catholic churches have been closing across our area as part of a consolidation effort, Russian Orthodox churches have been expanding, opening up about 60 churches across the country over the last six years.
Part of the reason behind the growth is Arabic Christians, many of whom are a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, have immigrated to the U.S. to escape religious persecution and war.
When St. Rocco’s closed over the summer, it merged with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on William Street in Pittston. It formed the Catholic Community of St. Joseph Morello.
“It makes for a great big family, supporting each other and helping out the community,” Linda Weathers said of the consolidation.