Monday, February 16, 2009

Sharpsburg Parishes to Merge

Three Catholic parishes in Sharpsburg are combining next month to form the St. Juan Diego Parish. The merger of St. Mary, St. John Cantius and Madonna of Jerusalem parishes fol,lows several months of meetings by parish committees. The parishes petitioned Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop David Zubik to approve the consolidation and he agreed. For nearly 10 years, the 3 parishes have been administered as a single unit and overseen by one priest. Father Frank Almade, who has been administering the 3 parishes for the last 18 months, will be installed as pastor of St. Juan Diego Parish March 15th. The Reverend Almade says although the 3 parishes have a strong German, Polish and Italian history, the different ethnicities have not divided the community. He says 2 years ago St. John Cantius Church welcomed a large Korean contingent as part of the parish.
Father Almade says there were 2 criteria for selecting a name for the new parish: it could not be the name of one of the existing three and they wanted the name to be unique to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
St. Juan Diego is a native Indian to whom the Virgin Mary appeared outside of what is now Mexico City in 1531.

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