Decision to close Immaculate Conception Church above St. Joseph’s Church leaves some parishioners with questions – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In recent years, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has made painful decisions to merge parishes and close churches and schools.

Nothing is more painful than in Bloomfield and Garfield, where he has already closed a church and must now close another. This causes friction between parishioners and Bishop David Zubik.

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It might take the wisdom of Solomon. Should the bishop close the more modern, 1960s Church of the Immaculate Conception, or the more stately and visible St. Joseph’s Church on Liberty Avenue?

Two weeks ago, the bishop told the congregation of the Immaculate Conception that it would be St Joseph’s to remain open, much to the dismay of some parishioners.

“This church is 130 years old,” said parishioner Linda Vacca. “There are serious issues with this, the structure and the environmental safety.”

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Vacca leads a group of parishioners asking the bishop to back down and close St. Joseph’s Square, which they say is badly deteriorating and will cost too much to rehabilitate. His group cites a report commissioned by the diocese citing “life safety considerations” and recommending air monitors “to check for mold, pathogens and contaminants.”

“I would have fought tooth and nail to keep this church open if I thought it was worth it,” parishioner Gloria LeDonne said.

“Both churches need repairs for over a million dollars,” Zubik said.

Bishop Zubik said he had empathy for these parishioners, who are at risk of losing a church they love, but he said a tough decision had to be made. According to his reports, while repairs at St. Joseph will cost around $1.6 million, the Immaculate Conception comes second with $1.4 million. And despite concerns to the contrary, he said work at St. Joseph’s can be done while remaining open to the congregation.

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The last mass at the Immaculate Conception will be said in three Sundays.

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