February 17, 2019


GRAND OL’ LADY UPDATE: Last week I wrote that we had some possible good news in regards to the IC organ. Unfortunately plans didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. As to be expected in such an endeavour some difficulties emerged in an originally well-laid plan. But have no fear! The individuals involved have proposed an equally-generous Plan B. And this plan likewise promises to cover a nice chunk of the expense involved in replacing the guts of the Grand ol’ Lady with shiny new DIGITAL (note, Bob Broderick, that I have learnt my lesson!) innards.


In addition, several unbidden cheques found their way into my hands this past week - two for one HUNDRED and one for one THOUSAND United States dollars. Best of all, the 1K cheque came from someone who is no longer living in the area, and thus not a current parishioner. Why, you ask,
do I consider that fact worthy of a “best of all” intro? For TWO reasons my friends. First, (lets be
honest here) when a parishioner makes that kind of donation to a special project they may be tempted to reduce their regular offertory. And since the parish DEPENDS on the regular offertory to operate that is something I definitely do NOT want to see happen! Second, such a generous gift from a FORMER parishioner shows the depth of people’s commitment to the community even when they are no longer physically a part of it.


As I continue to move forward on this project I ask YOUR prayers. In keeping with the comments in the previous parish my HOPE is to obtain some MAJOR donations from those who have roots here but are no longer in the area. As we well know, many people who grew up in the Jewel of the Yough have moved away. And not a few of these have done QUITE WELL for themselves. Certainly some could be persuaded to help the spiritual mother - at whose breast their faith was nourished - in her hour of need!


THE GRAND 0L’ LADY AT HER DEBUT: In my research I found the following article on the dedication of the organ at Immaculate Conception. It appeared in the 10 June 1920 issue of the Daily Courier. Since no one will be able to read this tiny photo here is the transcription of the section of the article describing the new instrument:


The organ is electrically operated. It has over 1,600 pipes, its tone is excellent
and the reed-pipes in particular are of exceptional quality, as tomorrow’s recital will demonstrate.


The great console, which contains the manuals and stops, is of the latest approved type. There are three manuals (three full sets of keys) besides the pedal-bass. The stops are of the ivory “tap”? description, and they may be set singly or prearranged in combinations on a switch control.


The organ is said to be the largest in Connellsville. In fact, it is claimed there is none approaching it in size or quality in Fayette County and even in the large cities there are few such organs to be found in churches. Generally only the big concert halls are so equipped.


From this description it is obvious that calling her the “Grand ol’ Lady is NOT mere hyperbole; she truly
WAS GRAND in her heyday!


COVER PHOTO: FINALLY we had some proper winter weather last week!The cold was expected (the media had whipped us into a frenzy with its dire predictions of the Polar Vortex from HELL bringing death and destruction to all it touched) but the snow on Friday caught me,at least, unawares. But ain’t that always the case? The news spends DAYS warning of an approaching snowmageddon and nary a snowflake falls from the sky, Then they call for a dusting and the snow piles up and everything comes to a standstill!


Friday morning I had the opportunity to enjoy the snow-covered roads as I travelled to Frick Hospital in order to anoint a parishioner. After safely making it home (I had one harrowing moment as I rounded the bend on Crawford Avenue after passing Geibel) I headed to the gym. On the way home from my workout I was moved (by the Spirit? by my own insanity?) to visit my old neighbourhood in order to
look for snowy photo-ops at Hill
Grove Cemetery. So as I drove So as I drove through the cemetery (VERY carefully!) I now and then got out of the car (still attired, of course, in the shorts and t-shirt I wore at the gym; compared to the previous two days Friday was positively BALMY!) to shoot some pictures.


This week’s cover photo was my favourite capture.



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