PLAINS – Parishioners of Saints Peter and Paul Parish celebrated a century of faith and service on Sunday, June 25, 2023, as they welcomed the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, for a special 100th anniversary celebration Mass.

Hundreds of people attended the 10:30 a.m. liturgy that was followed by a reception in Bernardine Hall.

Parishioners of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Plains gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their church building on Sunday, June 25, 2023.

“It’s a real privilege for me to join with this community of believers, this great community of faith, here at Saints Peter and Paul Parish,” Bishop Bambera said as he began the Eucharistic celebration.

During his homily, Bishop Bambera reminded the people that while it is fitting to mark the 100-year anniversary of the grand edifice of Saints Peter and Paul Church, it is much more important to treasure what has been done inside the walls of the church for the last century.

“We will celebrate not simply a sign or a symbol but the power and presence and reality of God here in our midst through this incredible Sacrament of Jesus’ Body and Blood,” the bishop said.

Like everyone in attendance, Bishop Bambera has many memories in the church.

His great uncle, Msgr. Joseph Pilny, served as pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church for 47 years before retiring in 1973. As a young man he attended baptisms, weddings and even the funeral of his great grandmother in the church.

“As we recall events that have taken place within our lives in relationship to this church building, we recall certain people far more than a building, don’t we?” the bishop said. “Perhaps a pastor, a sister, a relative, a friend, and at the heart of such memories are likely to be found the deepest mystery of our faith – what we will do today in celebrating the Eucharist – the presence of Jesus among us.”

Bishop Bambera also rededicated the church’s altar as part of the Mass.

The parish community of Saints Peter and Paul wanted to celebrate the twelve churches that have come together over the last few decades that now make up its community of believers.

The churches include Saints Peter and Paul, Sacred Heart, Saint Joseph, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Dominic, Saint Christopher, Holy Saviour, Saint Stanislaus Kostka, Saint John the Baptist, Blessed Sacrament, Sacred Heart of Jesus and Saint John the Evangelist.

In addition to remembering, Bishop Bambera challenged those in attendance to go forth and continue serving.

“Jesus commands us to use what we have been given in service of our brothers and sisters as He has given us an example. So go, at the end of this Mass, to do the work of God, as faithful parishioners of Saints Peter & Paul Parish have done as they left this church for 100 years,” he said.

Father John C. Lambert, pastor, thanked Bishop Bambera for helping the parish celebrate its important milestone.

“I just really want to thank you bishop for joining us today, it meant a great deal to all of us,” Father Lambert said.