Last Mass at Several Churches in the Area


July 14, 2008

[with video]

Many Catholics in the Lehigh Valley attended Mass in their churches for the last time Sunday. Nearly 50 churches have been scheduled to close by the Allentown diocese. Our Lady of Pompeii and St. Joseph's in Bethlehem were among those that held their last Mass. WFMZ's Jackie Shutack spoke with parishioners as they watched the doors close for the last time. As the priest performs the final rituals of Catholic Mass, lifelong parishioners at Saint Joseph's Church in Bethlehem snap photos...for the last time. It's an emotional day, as the doors here are now closed for good. >> Veronica Azan Parishioner: "Its the end of something, things will never be the same for me this is my family I feel like I'm losing my family." >> Joseph Boligitz Parishioner: "I could just about take communion because it meant so much to me. That wafer meant so much to me it meant the church. It brought back the history of the church, I just felt sad." >> Reporter: As the bells toll for the last time, parishioners prepare to take the final steps to save their church. Their appeal to the diocese was rejected Friday, now they're petitioning directly to Rome. Parish leaders are meeting with other area Catholics whose churches are closing...everyone angry at the diocese. >> Stephen Antalics Parishioner "The way the bishop handled this he violated his own criteria for the way to close churches down he threw it into one parishs lap turned one against the other." >> Until they hear from Rome, St. Joseph's, with special roots in the Slovenian community, will stay closed. Breaking the hearts of hundreds of parishioners. In Bethlehem, Jackie Shutack, 69 News.


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