Our Lady of Grace Parish festival canceled after disturbing letter

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - Updated: 2:09 pm

The priest-administrator of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Scott Township, in consultation with the parish festival committee, has announced the cancellation of this week’s parish festival due to a disturbing message.

In late July, an office in the Diocese of Pittsburgh Pastoral Center received a handwritten letter that said, in part, “Cancel August 14-17 Festival Security Problem is Huge.” Only one parish, Our Lady of Grace in Scott, was scheduled to hold a festival on those dates.

Although there was no direct threat, the letter raised grave concern due to the appalling chain of mass violence that our nation has experienced. Father David Bonnar, the priest-administrator, was immediately notified, and he immediately notified law enforcement. The sender has not been identified, so Father Bonnar announced, with deep regret, that the festival has been canceled.

“My call as your pastor is to lead, feed, and protect,” Father Bonnar said in a letter to parishioners. “Please be in prayer for the parish, for those who have worked so hard to prepare for the festival, for the school and ministries that would have benefitted from the festival, for the vendors who have lost work and for the individual who sent the letter. May we all experience the grace and mercy of God.”

The loss of income to Our Lady of Grace Parish and School, and to vendors who were scheduled to work at the festival, pales in comparison to the loss of lives in Dayton, El Paso, Squirrel Hill and too many other places. The diocese supports the decision not to risk becoming another name in that tragic litany. But we mourn the loss of carefree community that should be the hallmark of these joyous events.

Anyone with information that could help to identify the person who sent the threat is urged to contact the Scott Township Police Department at 412-276-7725.

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