Parishioners Fight to Reopen Catholic Church in Carbon County

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LANSFORD -- Outside St. Katharine Drexel Roman Catholic Church in Lansford, instead of pews, people sat in fold-up chairs while they prayed and read scriptures.

Kelly Kisenwether's family joined the church three years ago and when it closed, they had to find another place to worship.

"My kids are now at St. Jerome's in Tamaqua. It was hard looking at the building. I look over at the school and I look at and think there was no reason to close it," said Kelly Kisenwether of Nesquehoning.

The Diocese of Allentown consolidated this parish, closing the church and Our Lady of Angels Academy in July. The move affected more than 400 families.

Most people who attended St. Katharine's walked to church and now that it's closed, they have to find transportation to attend services in Summit Hill.

"I really do feel we were treated unfairly and we weren't given an explanation, and I think the hardest thing was Bishop Barres never physically came in person," said Kisenwether.

Since the closing of the church, leaders have formed an alliance and filed paperwork appealing to the Vatican City to reopen. Folks who've attended St. Katharine's say the closing not only affects the people who attend inside these walls, but also the surrounding community.

"Especially growing up in a small town, tight-knit community, 3,000-4,000 people, and to have this desecrated, there's no church in town now. It's horrible really," said Lou Labosky of Lansford.

Their case to reopen the church has been accepted and is under review by Catholic Church officials in Rome. A decision may not come for at least a couple of years.


  • Leo D. Lion

    Looks like a beautiful church structure…
    The diocese here closed alot of chuches….
    I just looked at map,,,, the diocese will continue with its closure…
    It’s just the way it is today.
    The sooner you get yourself settled in, in your new parish, the better…
    As mentioned,,, ALOT of churches here have closed.
    ALOT. my location isn’t important…
    Your Bishop is making hard decisions… he knows you’ll be angry at him if he visits, and maybe even violent.. So he will avoid it.

    Good luck in the winter

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