Tuesday the 18th of May

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Reader’s Digest calls Ukrainian Catholic church a ‘real-life’ miracle

‘The church that wouldn’t burn,’ reads a headline on the cover of the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine.

It’s the lead-in to a cover story on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Centralia. It is in the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and was designated a site of holy pilgrimage in 2015.

The church, built in 1911, sits on a hilltop above the famous but mostly abandoned town of Centralia, where underneath a fire has been burning in a network of mines since 1962.

That fire eventually sent poisonous gases into homes and businesses. Most residents moved out using money from a federal relocation program. Hundreds of buildings were demolished. Today, less than a dozen people live in Centralia, often called a ghost town.

The distinctive Ukrainian Catholic church, with its three onion-shaped domes, is the only church left of the seven that were once there.

Bill Hagley Jr. is the author of the story in Reader’s Digest.

Picture: ‘The church that wouldn’t burn,’ reads a headline on this cover of the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine. It’s the lead-in to a cover story on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Centralia, Pa. (CNS photo/courtesy Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia).