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Final Mass today at St. John the Baptist, Exeter

The final Mass will be celebrated today at St. John the Baptist church, Schooley St., Exeter.

Photo by jack smiles

After 106 years in existence St John the Baptist Church, Schooley Avenue in Exeter, will shutter its doors for good today after a final 2 p.m. Mass.

After the Mass long-time parishioners Leona Gutowski and Anthony Faltyn will lock the doors for the final time. Following the Mass parishioners will walk in a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to St. Anthony’s for a short prayer service and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Afterwards everyone is invited to St. Anthony’s Parish Center to socialize, and refreshments will be served.

Founded by Polish immigrants the church was the sight of thousands of baptisms, weddings and funerals. Prior to the construction the church on Schooley Avenue, Polish Catholics walked to Duryea to worship says long time parishioner Barbara Pazdziorko. Many of the earlier parishioners were from Wyoming and most worked in the local coal mining industry.

St. John’s also spun off a new parish. In the early 1900s parishioners from Wyoming petitioned then Bishop Hoban to allow them to form a new parish. This new parish was St Joseph’s in Wyoming.

St John the Baptist, St Cecilia’s and St Anthony’s will join together to form St Barbara’s Parish at the St. Anthony’s site.

On June 4 a closing service will be held at St Cecilia’s and June 5 at St Anthony’s. The consolidation of the Exeter Churches will take place on Sunday, June 12. There will be a special Mass at 10:30 a.m. to inaugurate the new Parish name of St. Barbara in Exeter.

After the special celebration, a social with refreshments will be held at St. Anthony’s Center and Pavilion. St. Anthony’s Church will be the main Church in Exeter and St. Cecilia Church will be a worship site.

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