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Historic Shenandoah Church Being Renovated

SHENANDOAH — The oldest Ukrainian Catholic parish in the country is getting a makeover. Usually there isn’t scaffolding in the middle of the pews at...

SHENANDOAH -- The oldest Ukrainian Catholic parish in the country is getting a makeover.

Usually there isn't scaffolding in the middle of the pews at this church in Shenandoah, but St. Michael's Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is getting some needed repairs.

For years, the domes at the church have been leaking and the lighting wasn't energy efficient but that's changing.

"We had to start first with our roof and our domes because that's where most of the water leakage was coming from," explained Msgr. Myron Grabowsky.

Parishioners say these repairs are crucial.

"This church right now is representative of the first Ukrainian Catholic Church in America," said Albert Berznik.

The parish was the first of its kind and started in Shenandoah in 1884.

This isn't the original church but it's what's left.

"At one time there was over 500 families here when the mines were operating, but today we're down to about 80-some families, but they still work hard to preserve the church."

Historic Shenandoah Church Being Renovated

Church leaders say this renovation project is so important, not only to fix up the place, but also to preserve a piece of history in Shenandoah.

"To keep the history alive, we do have to give back, we have to put it back in."

This part of the renovation is about $650,000. Some of that money came from the archbishop in Philadelphia, but a lot of cash also came in from fundraisers.

Women in the parish had pierogi sales.

"It's the future of our young parishioners and their life. I know a lot of them go away, but in the end they come back," said Nancy Sawka of Frackville.

The bill would be about $1 million if the church can fix everything it needs.

St Michael's is accepting any donation to meet that goal.

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