Fight to Keep Church Open in Carbon County Denied

LANSFORD, Pa. -- Seeing St. Katherine Drexel Roman Catholic Church, formally known as St. Michael the Archangel, covered in tarp and scaffolding is upsetting to some people in Lansford.

Especially Marie Lukas.  This used to be her church until it closed in 2016 due to lack of attendance.

"It's the most beautiful church. The artwork is so beautiful in there, the statues and everything. It's just magnificent," said Lukas.

After the church closed, a group of parishioners fought to reopen it, but just last week they found out their appeal to the Vatican was denied.

Rita Klekamp was the driving force behind the fight. She fears the place will be demolished.

"This is a landmark that must be saved, and historically it is extremely important to the people who attend. This is our Notre Dame," said Klekamp.

Newswatch 16 reached out to the Diocese of Allentown.

According to a spokesperson, no decision has been made on the future of the building.

People who are fighting to save this church fear if it gets torn down, it's just going to be another empty lot in their borough.

In less than 10 years, two other churches were torn down in Lansford -- one in 2013 and another in 2016.

"Can you imagine coming down the hill with no church, no rectory, and no school?" asked Klekamp.

"The church itself is magnificent. It's old and I guess, I don't know close to 100 years old I guess. I don't know. Everyone is heartbroken," said Lukas.

According to the Diocese, if the church were to be sold, proceeds would go to the parish into which St. Katherine Drexel was consolidated -- St. Joseph in Summit Hill.

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