Diocese of Scranton Church Buys Organ Played for Pope in Philly

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Plains Township, Luzerne County — The new pipe organ delivered Thursday to SS. Peter & Paul Church on Hudson Road is not just any instrument. It’s the one heard at the Philadelphia outdoor mass celebrated by Pope Francis. You might consider it a minor miracle how the Plains Township parish came to possess it. “It’s all in providence. God’s plan I believe.” said Fr. Jack Lambert.

Fr. Jack arrived at SS. Peter & Paul in August as the new pastor. The old church organ, which hadn’t worked in months, was beyond repair. He spoke with a representative from Rodgers Instruments who said the organ to be played before the pope in Philadelphia would be available. Fr. Jack contacted Cunningham Piano Company in Germantown which made the state-of-the-art Rodgers Infinity Model 361 electronic pipe organ. What the pastor heard next was music to his ears. “He said if your parish really wants this, I will hold it for you.”

Fr. Jack sought and received parish permission to make the major purchase. When asked how big an investment it was he paused and replied, “It’s an incredible investment in time, talent and treasure.” When asked what it cost, Fr. Jack said “It cost a significant amount of money.”

The church’s music ministry believes the digital organ that can play different styles is a great investment. Church Choir Director Joan Turel said, “If I wanted to we could almost make it sound like we have an orchestra I suppose.” Church choir member Jo Anne Raynis added, “I feel that there’s extra special grace now here in this church.”

Williamsport native and Cunningham Piano Company co-owner Tim Oliver is pleased the pipe organ played before the pope found a home in the Diocese of Scranton. “It’s extremely special that this organ is here in this area, in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. It is going to minister a tremendous amount of people.”

The prestigious pipe organ will be tested on Friday and first played Saturday for a funeral mass at SS. Peter & Paul Church.

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