Monday, April 18, 2016

Church closings, mergers mourned by worshippers, communities

From Pittsburgh-

The sacred space she valued as her place of refuge for six decades suddenly is off limits, its holy relics stripped away, doors bolted shut and almost 400 weekly worshippers told to go elsewhere. St. John Vianney church in Pittsburgh's Allentown neighborhood closed this month, the latest in more than 150 Diocese of Pittsburgh church closures in three decades.

The Catholic church built by German immigrants, known as St. George Church for most of its 105 years, is where Evans, 64, made her First Communion, married her husband of 41 years and had her three children — now ages 30, 32 and 40 — baptized. She and her neighbors refer to the twin-steepled structure at the heart of their community as “the beacon on the hill.”

“It's almost like a death in the family,” Evans said. “We're all hurting and lost.”

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