SHARON – The Rev. Matthew Ruyechan, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, recently announced that the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, has relegated St. Stanislaus Kostka to “profane but not sordid use.” The technical designation refers to the canon law process by which a bishop removes the blessing or consecration of a church building. Through that process, the building ceases to be reserved for divine worship, and therefore, can be used for non-religious purposes. This language helps clarify that the term “profane” means secular or non-religious, while “sordid” means unbecoming or inappropriate.
The designation is the result of a process that occurs when a pastor, with the support of the parish finance council and the parish pastoral council, determines a church building can no longer be maintained for any of a variety of reasons.
The most recent change for the building occurred in Feb. 2017, when the Diocese of Erie implemented a series of parish mergers and partnerships as a result of a pastoral planning initiative. At that time, St. Stanislaus Kostka-Holy Trinity Parish, together with St. Adalbert Parish in Farrell, was merged into St. Anthony of Padua Parish.
By virtue of the merger, St. Anthony of Padua Parish was entrusted with the care of three churches: St. Anthony of Padua church, which remained the parish church, and St. Adalbert and St. Stanislaus Kostka churches, both of which lost their status as parish churches. Sunday Masses have not been celebrated in St. Stanislaus Kostka church since that time; the church has been used only for personal devotion and for funerals.
The pastoral planning process involving parishes that was completed in 2017, was designed to allow parishes to evaluate their own situations going forward, and to make recommendations at the local level.