Jeannette Church will reopen for worship | Local News
Bishop Larry J. Kulick, Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, has made a series of announcements that will help Sacred Heart Parish of Jeannette reopen the church building for weekend mass, weddings, funerals , with baptisms and other liturgies beginning the weekend of June 26.
Sacred Heart Church has been plagued by water damage since 2012. Attempts have been made over the past eight years to repair the building’s interior, exterior, and underground drains.
Recently, Kulick learned that despite the aesthetic appearance of the church’s interior, it is now safe to reopen for worship.
“The timing added to the devastation of this water damage. When the rest of us began to emerge from pandemic isolation to resume in-person worship at the churches we know and love, parishioners in Sacred Heart Parish had to worship elsewhere,” said Kulick. “My prayers have been with Father Michael Sikon, Father Alvin Aberion, Deacon Bill Newhouse and the staff and parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish. I thank them for their patience, understanding and cooperation. They remained a parish, even without a church.
With the reopening of Sacred Heart Church, the Bishop is calling on the pastoral and financial councils of Sacred Heart and Ascension parishes to create a sustainability plan for their respective parishes. This should be a long-term expectation for the two parishes of Jeannette. The revitalization of the parish communities of the Sacred Heart and the Ascension and the assessment of their needs for the future is the objective that has been set.
Kulick entrusts this important task to the parish communities and its leaders, and he will seek their recommendations for a long-term pastoral plan that ensures a strong and lasting Catholic presence in the town of Jeannette. This will be a top priority as both faith communities move into the future.
As this process begins, Kulick and Sikon have agreed that this is the optimal time to transition parish leadership in both parishes with the goal of ensuring continuity and stability for the entire Jeannette community. To this end, Bishop Kulick also made the following announcements:
- Effective with the summer clergy appointments, Sikon will step down as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Jeannette and Ascension Parish, Jeannette, while remaining pastor of St. Barbara Parish, Harrison City, and worship director for the Diocese of Greensburg;
- Aberion, who currently serves as parochial vicar for both parishes, will also be reassigned to summer clergy appointments;
- Kulick appointed Deacon Bill Newhouse as trustee of Sacred Heart Parish and Ascension Parish in Jeannette, effective summer clergy appointments. With this assignment, for the first time in the history of the Diocese of Greensburg, a deacon was appointed administrator. This assignment will allow both parishes to have on-site administrative oversight and guidance as Sacred Heart Parish strives to make decisions regarding the construction of Sacred Heart Church and as both parishes begin to operate effectively as forward-looking partner parishes. Kulick said he is confident that Newhouse’s familiarity and knowledge of the community and his historical interaction with both parishes will serve the parishes well in this time of vision and reinvigoration. Newhouse will continue to serve the needs of both parishes sacramentally and liturgically in his role as deacon;
- To provide for the liturgical and other sacramental needs of the two parishes, especially those reserved for a priest, the Bishop has, on the recommendation of Archabbot Martin Bartel, OSB, appointed Reverend Job Foote, OSB, to serve as Vicar parochial of both parishes in effect with summer clergy appointments.
“There has been a long historical presence of Benedictines in the Jeannette community. On behalf of St. Vincent Archabbey, we are grateful to be able to help the Diocese of Greensburg and thrilled to be represented once again in the faith community of Jeannette,” said Bartel.
In addition to the assistance provided by St. Vincent Archabbey, the diocese will fund the position of Director of Faith Formation and Evangelism for Jeannette’s partner parishes for the next two years.
During this time, the new parish leadership will work alongside parishioners from both parishes to revitalize the Catholic presence in Jeannette. Additionally, and with the assistance of members of the Pastoral and Financial Council, Deacon Newhouse will lead the process of further assessing the needs of the Church of the Sacred Heart building and helping to develop a plan to move forward. before.
The need to repair the Church of the Sacred Heart came to a head in 2017, when much of the plaster fell off the church’s transept wall on the parking side of the building. Repair work on this section began last year, but the porous stone of the building was inexorably infiltrated by water.
“The more we repair, the more damage we see, including asbestos in the plaster walls we’ve been mitigating since August 2020.” said Jim Garvin, director of engineering and facilities management. “I want to assure parishioners that hundreds of hours have gone into repairing the brick, stone and plaster, but a lot of the plaster has fallen off the walls.”
Garvin warned that the look of the interior of the church will not be what parishioners will remember. However, the building is safe and the course of future repairs should be determined taking into account the parish’s net assets of approximately $400,000.
Initial restoration efforts are expected to cost nearly $150,000. The additional work to be carried out over the next few years is expected to exceed $600,000. This will include repointing the exterior of the church, lighting upgrades, altar area upgrades, HVAC upgrades and other facility maintenance items. The Diocese continues to work with insurance companies to ensure Sacred Heart Parish is fairly and strongly represented in the insurance claims process. However, recent insurance claims related to interior plaster restoration and interior brick stain standardization have been denied.
Since his ordination and installation as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg on Feb. 11, Kulick has used an information-gathering model of engaging congregants in conversations to better understand the unique needs of each parish community.
During a meeting with congregants on May 23, Kulick solicited feedback and asked parishioners under Newhouse’s leadership to take ownership of the future of their community of faith:
“I ask the people of Sacred Heart and Ascension parishes, their staff, and especially their pastoral and financial councils to work together,” Kulick said. “I hope that in this effort they can share both personnel and resources. I ask you today to create a plan for the future that enables Sacred Heart and Ascension parishes to be pastorally engaged, community-centered, evangelism-driven, and financially viable.