Thursday, June 6, 2013

Scottdale - continued

     I took a bit of a break from my remembering of previous assignments, but I would like to get back to the task.

     In the six years that I spent as an Associate at Saint John the Baptist, I grew to know and love the people.  I found that their capacity to make you feel one of them was tremendous.

     I spent some of my time getting some sun and some exercise by cutting grass at the cemetery, especially the old section where the larger mowers could not maneuver.  I am a bit strange in that I enjoyed the solitude and the sense of history that reading the headstones brought to me.  One story ... in the old section there was an unmarked mass grave.  This contained seventy-nine bodies from the Mammoth Mine explosion disaster of January 27, 1891.  There were 107 killed in that explosion.  The names of those buried there were listed in our records, and they were buried in a mass grave measuring 30' X 70' in the center section.   Buried in the same section are the graves of seven of nine miners who were shot to death in a strike effort for higher wages on April 2, 1891 in what is known as the Morewood Massacre.  Later the State placed a stone in the cemetery and an historical marker of the event near the cemetery.  Getting into history is definitely interesting and sometime exciting.

     Another bit of history surrounded the Convent for the Sister of Charity of Seton Hill in Scottdale.  The Sisters served the parish in education for just shy of 100 years.  The old convent was raised to make room for the new church built in 1980.  One of those rooms at the convent hosted a famous visitor for an overnight stay as she was travelling through.  Her name was Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, and she was later declared a Saint of the Church.

     During those days I became somewhat of a mediocre but avid tennis player, took care of the flowers around the rectory, in addition to doing the priestly things.  Pastorates were at that time based on seniority of years, and my time had come.  In August of 1984 Father Tom Kalasky died.  He had been pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Church in Connellsville - my next assignment.

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