First Posted: 7/24/2013
After 106 years in existence, St. John the Baptist Church on Schooley Avenue in Exeter shuttered its doors several years ago.
Now, new life is being breathed into the building.
West Pittston contractor Marc E. Minichello recently purchased the building for $60,000 and, although his plans are not set in stone, he plans to use the building as a training center for his children.
“I passed by the building and saw it for sale,” says Minichello. “Having a son and daughter who are avid sports enthusiasts, it will be a good place for them to train and work out.”
Founded by Polish immigrants, the church was the sight of thousands of baptisms, weddings and funerals. Many of the earlier parishioners were from Wyoming and most worked in the local coal mining industry.
Long-time parishioner Leona Gutowski was on hand when the church closed for the final time, experiencing the bittersweet privilege of locking the door after the last mass.
Gutowski had been a parishioner since 1922 and had many memories of the church, including her wedding and children’s baptisms. She was pleased to hear the old church building was being sold.
“I am glad it is being put to good use, as long as they are not tearing it down,” she said.
Although many of Gutowski’s life events took place at St John the Baptist Church, she is happy with her new parish at St Barbara.
“The new parish is a great community and members of all the former parishes all participated in the closing of St. John’s,” said Gutowski.