CRESCO – After two decades of dreaming and planning, the finishing touches are finally being put on a new worship space for Most Holy Trinity Parish in Monroe County.
In anticipation of completing work on the new church in the coming weeks, The Catholic Light was invited to highlight the renovation project in its final days. An opening Mass is currently being planned for May.
The new worship space for Most Holy Trinity is located in the former gymnasium/auditorium of the now-closed Monsignor McHugh School located on Route 390 in Cresco.
“It is overwhelming beautiful,” parishioner Cheryl Lynott of Paradise Township said.
Lynott is a 1977 graduate of Pocono Central Catholic High School, which used the same building. She is one of several parishioners who not only serves on the parish’s building and grounds committee – but also has invested countless hours into the building project.
“Our volunteers are the most talented group of people you would ever hope to find,” she explained. “It is a blessing to be part of building this church. I really look at it that way.”
Sordoni Construction is handling all of the renovations inside the former gym, but parishioners volunteered to create everything else the parish needs. That includes the confessionals, bathrooms, office space and more on the exterior of the gym.
“I just do whatever needs to be done,” parishioner Walt Dill of Blakeslee explained. “Normally I’m here six to eight hours a day, five days a week and then I’m here on Saturdays and on Sundays if I’m needed.”
Michael Ziobro of Canadensis retired from his full-time job in 2020. Since that time, participating in the church construction project has taken up the bulk of his days.
“It is a labor of love. We’re here every day,” Ziobro explained. “We can’t wait for opening day.”
Most Holy Trinity Parish was created upon the consolidation of Saint Ann Parish, Tobyhanna; Saint Mary of the Mount Parish, Mount Pocono; and Saint Bernadette Parish, Canadensis.
The new worship space brings together many aspects of those three churches. For example, the pews in the new church all come from the former Saint Mary and Saint Ann church buildings. Likewise, the Stations of the Cross and the stained glass windows from the former parishes have also been included in the new construction.
“To see all the little bits of all the different churches in here, it’s wonderful,” Ziobro said. “I went to Saint Mary’s all the time, so it’s nice to see those windows and to see the Stations of the Cross and see some of the pews going in.”
In actuality, several other churches/chapels will be represented when the opening Mass takes place. In addition to the three closed churches, items from the former Villa of Our Lady Retreat Center, Our Lady of Fatima Church in the Promised Land area, Saint Joan of Arc, a mission church of Saint Mary’s in Pocono Summit, Monsignor McHugh School and the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton are also being included.
“It was just nice to see everything come together,” Noah Stretch, Project Superintendent of Sordoni Construction, said.
Stretch and his employees have been working on-site since September 2021. They battled not only the COVID-19 pandemic but supply issues.
“Somehow we made it work,” he explained. “We had a good crew that right out of the gate, they were ordering everything early. We had professionals here and they knew that they had to get everything ordered so we could be ready in time.”
Stretch credits not only his team, but also the dedication of the parishioners to get this project to the finish line.
“You can tell that their heart is into it. They are building with you. We don’t see it like this too often. It was really nice to see,” he explained.
The desire to create a new worship space for Most Holy Trinity Parish dates back to the pastoral tenure of Monsignor Arthur J. Kaschenbach and now-Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz. Between raising money, finding a location, and changing plans several times, it has not been an easy road.
“There were like 27 plans,” Ziobro said jokingly. “When the school closed, it focused us down to one plan. We had already been here for eight or ten years in the gymnasium with folding chairs. You’d take them down on the weekend because the school was still open.”
“I always saw the finish line. I always knew that it would come about, maybe not necessarily in this form, but I always saw the finish line. There was never any doubt in my mind that it would get done,” Dill added.
Lynott says parishioners are eager to see the finished worship space. There will even be coffee bar named ‘Trinity Treats’ in the narthex area of the new worship space.
She believes the typical reaction will be something like the following.
“I can sum it up by the response of my partner in the Capital Campaign. We have been doing the deposits for three years and she had not seen it so I snuck her in. She started to cry,” Lynott said.