In a world that cries out for love and mercy, the pastors of two merging parishes believe that their new namesakes will help unify and inspire parishioners to spread healing graces.
Saint Faustina Parish brings together the parishes of Saint Alphonsus in Boyers/Murrinsville/West Sunbury, Saint Christopher in Prospect and Saint Peter in Slippery Rock. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish was created through the merger of Saint Catherine of Siena in Crescent, Saint Joseph in Coraopolis and Saint Margaret Mary in Moon Township.
They are two of 14 new parishes that will be officially established on January 4.
“We are absolutely thrilled with our new parish name,” said Father Adam Verona, pastor of Saint Faustina Parish. “Saint Faustina’s visions of Jesus and conversations with Him had a huge impact.”
A Polish nun and mystic who died in 1938 at the age of 33, Saint Faustina inspired the devotion to the Divine Mercy, which is celebrated the second Sunday after Easter. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 2000.
“At the heart of this devotion is trust in God,” Father Verona said. “We are His children and need to have an open heart to the graces that He wants to give to us.”
Father Frank Kurimsky, pastor of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, is also excited about their new name and the possibilities it can bring.
“One of our pastoral council members pointed out that the name lends itself to novenas, devotions and litanies,” Father Kurimsky said. “It’s an opportunity to get refocused on the theology and meaning.”
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the most well-known and widely practiced Catholic devotions, with the heart of Jesus seen as a symbol of God’s boundless and passionate love for humankind. It centers on the long-suffering love and compassionate heart of Christ toward humanity.
“How can we take that compassionate love outside our doors?” Father Kurimsky asked. “That’s what we’re called to do. What a wonderful way to evangelize.”
Both pastors are finding ways to bring their people together. Father Verona has geographic challenges in northern Butler County, with four churches in three towns that are about a 25 minute drive from each other.
“We realize that change isn’t easy, it involves uncertainty,” he said. “But we can always trust in the providence of God.”
The other 12 parishes that are merging on January 4:
• Mary, Queen of Peace, which brings together the parishes of Saint Mary of the Mount (Mount Washington) and Prince of Peace (South Side);
• Our Lady of Hope,which brings together the parishes of Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin (Whitehall), Saint Germaine (Bethel Park), Nativity (South Park) and Saint Valentine (Bethel Park);
• Our Lady of the Valley, which brings together the parishes of Saint Cecilia (Rochester), Saint Felix (Freedom), Holy Family (New Brighton) and Saints Peter and Paul (Beaver);
• Resurrection, which brings together the parishes of Saint John Capistran (Upper Saint Clair) and Saint Thomas More (Bethel Park);
• Saint Catherine Laboure, which brings together the parishes of Saint Joan of Arc (South Park) and Saint Louise de Marillac (Upper Saint Clair);
• Saint Clare of Assisi, which brings together the parishes of Saint Joseph (North Oakland), Mater Dolorosa (Chicora) and Saint Wendelin (Carbon Center);
• Saint Francis of Assisi, which brings together the parishes of Saint John (Coylesville), Saint Joseph (Cabot) and Saint Mary of the Assumption (Herman);
• Saints Joachim and Anne, which brings together the parishes of Saint Mark (Liberty Borough/Port Vue), Saint Michael (Elizabeth) and Queen of the Rosary (Glassport);
• Saint Jude, which brings together the parishes of Saint Raphael (Morningside/Stanton Heights/Upper Lawrenceville) and Sacred Heart (Shadyside);
• Saints Martha and Mary, which brings together the parishes of Saint Catherine of Sweden (Hampton Township) and Saint Richard (Richland Township);
• Saint Matthew, which brings together the parishes of All Saints (Etna), Saint Aloysius (Reserve Township), Saint Bonaventure (Glenshaw) and Holy Spirit (Millvale);
• Saint Raphael the Archangel, which brings together the parishes of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (Carnegie), Saint Margaret of Scotland (Green Tree) and Saints Simon and Jude (Scott Township).