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Something Old, Something New

By Staff | Jan 14, 2009

Father Glenn McCreary, marching in the November 2008 dedication procession with Bishop Martino. (Knier)

Like a bride adorned in her best and ready to welcome family and guests, the newly built Catholic Church of the Resurrection stands prepared to receive the parishioners of Muncy.

The result of over 10 years of prayerful planning and exceptional craftsmanship, the facility is spacious, well-designed, and replete with both historical elements and new works of fine art.

“We tried to preserve the best of the old church as we moved into the new,” said the Rev. Glenn McCreary, who has served as the Church of the Resurrection’s pastor since 2000.

“The crucifix that hung over the altar now can be found in the new confessional. The hand-carved wooden statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Joseph now stand in niches on either side of the altar. The stained glass windows-depicting in a highly symbolic fashion events from the life of Christ and the Virgin-have been reconfigured for the new space. The Stations of the Cross, newly gilded, have moved to the new church as well.”

As part of a Nov. 16 ceremonial procession from the old South Main Street church to the new 75 Musser Lane location, the “relics of the saints” were transported to their new home. The carrying of these important pieces of church history-fragments of bone from St. Quirinius (a fourth century Croatian bishop and martyr) and St. Elizabeth Seton (the first American citizen to receive sainthood) served to remind parishioners of “how we today remain connected to those who believed this faith was worth living and dying for during the past 2,000 years,” said Rev. McCreary.

The inner sanctuary of the Catholic Church of the Resurrection, which moved to 75 Musser Lane in Muncy Creek Township. (Noble)

The sanctuary is ornamented by many new and beautiful examples of religious art created by local artisans. The exquisite icon “Christ in Majesty,” which hangs above the altar, was painted by parishioner Gretchen Moyer in the tradition of Greek and Russian sacred art. Oak harvested from parishioner Collette Shull’s property was used by parishioner Rick Lapp to fashion the Arts-and-Crafts style altar, tabernacle stand, and pulpit. Parishioner Rob Pierce crafted the 12 wooden dedication crosses which are positioned throughout the sanctuary.

Another prominent feature is the unusual hexagonal baptismal font located at the entrance to the nave. Water flows continuously from a hand-level pool to a floor-level pool, allowing for infant and adult baptisms by the priest. Rev. McCreary said that the water is also accessible to members who “traditionally bless themselves with the baptismal water as they enter the church as a sign of their renewed commitment to God in baptism and as a sign of the cleansing we all need to approach the mystery of God.”

Like a good bride, the church is not just beautiful, but also practical. The decision to build it was based upon feasibility studies and a basic need for more room. The new facility’s seating capacity of 400 is double that of the old building. The large lower level houses offices, a kitchen, multi-purpose room, nursery, and numerous classrooms. During the week, some of the space is utilized by the St. John Regional Academy for their day care center and preschool programs. Previously, the church and academy operated in separate, adjacent buildings.

According to Father Glenn, the Church of the Resurrection’s properties in the 500 block of South Main Street will be sold, including the former army chapel which was transplanted from Florida to Muncy in 1948.

(The church’s first marriage ceremony took place the following year, with the wedding of Eunice Rose Hess and Floyd E. Chestnut of April 23, 1949. Ironically, 59 years later, at the new church, the first Mass of Christian Burial was held for Mrs. Chestnut, who died Nov. 20, 2008.)

The 600 families of Muncy’s Catholic community can look forward to a long and happy “marriage” with their beautiful new place of worship.