St. Mary's Orthodox Church completes Ambitious project - 07/12/13

“For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9).

St. Mary's Orthodox Church is located in Coaldale, PA tucked away in the Schuylkill Mountains. We have a beautiful temple with a very active parish. In the spring of 2012 an endeavor was made by our parish council to continue the beautification of our wonderful parish. St. Mary’s parish has been a beacon of light to a region and a community that has struggled in these difficult economic times. The idea, put forth by the parish council and shared by the priest Fr. Daniel Mathewson was to show that we as a parish are still active and bearing the light of the Gospel to our community. Just 2 years earlier all of the Roman parishes (3 total) in Coaldale closed with little warning. Most of the community thought St. Mary’s had also closed. So this effort of bringing “light” to this darkened borough was to show that we were still active and alive. This little spark of light was then encouraged and fanned along with great zeal.
The Diocese of Eastern PA has been putting forth prayer, energy and labor to revitalize our parishes. This lighting project continued this process in our small way.
We began with an idea. What if people in our tiny community could be reminded of the Church and her holy work even in the evening hours? Our Lord taught in the Sermon on the Mount: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (St. Matthew 5: 14-16). St. Mary’s determined that we should be that ‘city on the hill’ and that our light should shine, This light that shines is of course only a temporal light, but this light is an icon of the light of Christ that His Church bears witness to.
In particular, we the faithful are His light and we shine with our proclamation of the Gospel message of Christ’s love for the world. These words of the Saviour are a teaching of principle-- if you are going to be light to the world shining on a hill then your works must show it! We must be living light, with love, energy, prayer and giving back to our community by calling them to this same light. The ultimate goal of the Lights shining on our cupolas is to ‘glorify our Father in heaven’ and this light must draw them to Christ’s love.
In August of this past year the project was finalized and the unveiling and blessing of the lights was a major community event. The Coaldale fire company was invited to come with their brand new ladder truck to lift Fr. Daniel up high in the sky to bless the lights. The neighbors, community, and local news agencies showed up to witness the event held on the evening of July 12th. A service of prayer and blessing was offered. Then the holy water was applied to these new lights and they beamed forth for all to see.

“Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle”(Ps. 43:3)