As More Churches Close, One Expands in Luzerne County

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WRIGHT TOWNSHIP --  It's difficult to quantify, but there seems to be a bit more cheer inside St. Jude's Parish in Mountain Top.

It might be because the church, built in the 1950s, is about to be replaced by a bigger $8 million church building right next door.

"We never thought it would come to pass until recently now," said parishioner Tony DiMaria.

The new church will be built just on the other side of the parking lot from the current church. Construction is expected to begin in June.

This comes in an era where churches are closing, consolidating and merging left and right.

For the Diocese of Scranton and Bishop Joseph Bambera, there have been roughly 50 church closures, consolidations, and mergers in just the past 10 years.

"I think it's rather interesting," explained Bishop Bambera. "We all understand the shifting demographics around our country and northeastern Pennsylvania and north central Pennsylvania are no exceptions to that."

But all the closures and consolidations aren't going unnoticed by this parish.

"We're using a lot of articles from churches that have closed in our diocese," said Fr. Joseph Evanko.

The stained glass from Holy Family Church in Scranton, which closed in 2010, is going into the new space in Mountain Top.

"They're priceless and we really couldn't afford to get at this point in time," Evanko added. "Basically, that's what the whole church is designed around."

And while Saint Francis of Assisi Church in West Hazleton is being converted into an animal hospital, St. Jude's Parish in Mountain Top will use the old marble furniture for the new place.

The parish has already raised $5 million of the $8 million needed for construction.

The new church is expected to be completed before the end of 2017. The old church will be torn down and used for parking.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.