SS. Peter and Paul in Braddock, Pa. celebrate its 125th anniversary
By Mary Anne Mistick
SS. Peter and Paul, Braddock, Pa.
God smiled and provided a picture-perfect autumn afternoon as more than 250 faithful gathered at SS. Peter and Paul in Braddock, Pa. to celebrate the church’s 125th anniversary.
SS. Peter and Paul, located on George Street in Braddock, was originally dedicated on Sept. 26, 1896, and the anniversary celebration occurred 125 years to that very day at 3 p.m. Sept. 26, 2021.
After the Most Rev. Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla received the traditional welcome of bread and salt, he led the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, accompanied by the heavenly voices of the Archeparchial Choir and assisted by priests, deacons, and seminarians.
Before and after liturgy, visitors were encouraged to visit the parish hall to see an impressive display of historical photos from throughout the church’s 125-year history.
The celebration continued with a banquet held at St. John the Baptist Cathedral Center in Munhall, Pa.
Guests were encouraged to mingle and reminisce before dinner while a special video of church photos, documents, and drone footage played on the large screens in the hall.
Father Vitalii Stashkevych, pastor at SS. Peter and Paul, offered a warm welcome and introductory remarks, followed by the blessing of the food by Metropolitan Archbishop William.
During dinner, guests listened to two speeches: an overview of the church’s rich history provided by Mary Anne Ference Mistick, followed by a touching tribute to SS. Peter and Paul’s longest-serving pastor, Father Julius D. Grigassy, given by his grandson, Father Daniel Grigassy of Paterson, NJ.
During dessert the eagerly-anticipated church anniversary books were distributed and Father Vitalii spoke movingly of the great faith of the parish founders, immigrants in a foreign land, how he also immigrated to the United States, and how God can do more than we can possibly imagine.
He noted that he grew up in Uzhhorod and would pass the Holy Cross Cathedral, never dreaming that one day he would pastor a church in America based on that very same cathedral!
Following his words, the crowd joined as one to sing the traditional Mnohaja I Blahaya L’ita (“Many Happy Years”) and there were more than a few teary eyes as people left for home following an afternoon and evening they would always remember.
Numerous photos of the day’s events (some of which are reproduced here) are posted to the church’s website and Facebook page.
Livestream viewing of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy reached 1,800 views from across the United States within two days.
The SS. Peter and Paul Facebook page may be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/SSPeterPaulBraddock/ and the website address is https://stspeterpaulbcc.com.