May 15, 2011
Book Review: Framing Faith
by Christina Weigand
When I saw the opportunity to read and write a review for Framing Faith I was very excited on a number of levels. Upon reading the book and looking at the many photographs I was not disappointed.
I was a member of the neighboring Diocese of Pittsburgh, which went through some very similar changes at the same time the Diocese of Scranton was experiencing their upheavals. However, I was on the other side of the coin, living in the suburbs and feeling the strong need for newer and bigger churches and although aware of what was happening to those small city parishes, I did not feel the pain and sorrow that accompanied these changes.
With Ms.’s Piccini and Pavelka, the rich history, splendor and struggle was brought to light. As with the Diocese of Scranton, the Diocese of Pittsburgh shared similar histories full of immigrants struggling to make a life for themselves in a new world. Framing Faith gives the reader a little peak into how those struggles were managed and the immigrants faith maintained and even strengthened.
The people who could barely speak english, and made very little money in the mines and mills of Pennsylvania through the sweat of their own brows and a unwavering faith in God were able to build faith communities that today’s contemporary churches have a hard time recreating.
To think that these poor people often built the churches themselves, raised the money themselves and even repaired sometimes insurmountable problems themselves is a testemant to them. For today we build a church millions of dollars are spent, workers are paid to build the structure, someone is paid to make needed repairs. This isn’t wrong, it’s just the way of the world. But this reader thinks a precious asset has been lost in our fast paced contemporary world.
Thanks to Ms.’s Piccini and Pavelka for reminding this reader of her roots and helping me to see that my way is not the only way or even the best way.
Maybe when all is said and done, we will all learn that God’s way is the best way.
I recommend this book for anyone who loves God, the church and history. This book is full of all of them. The authors did an excellent job of travelling through history and capturing the essence of those first immigrant parishes and their people, because in the end the church is the people that make it up.
Happy reading and God Bless,