Historic parish hall dedicated in Union


UNION — St. Augustine would have liked Seton House — it’s an old home gently tucked inside this Upstate town with a lot of history.

When St. Augustine’s Parish purchased the house in 1975, it was creaky and run down. Some parishioners claimed the upstairs was condemned. Others did not even know there was an upstairs, as it had been walled off for fear the floor could not support the weight of a human being.

Despite all that, it was quaint. It had an old-style atmosphere, the perfect setting for sitting down, turning on a lamp and reading a good book; something St. Augustine would have liked about Seton House.

“He was one of the foremost theologians of the church,” said Father Gary Linsky, pastor at St. Augustine’s. “He was a noble defender of the faith.” On Aug. 28, the feast of St. Augustine, Bishop David B. Thompson dedicated Seton House as the new activity center for the parish. Parishioners packed the church for a celebration of solemn vespers on this proud day.

“We can look to St. Augustine and find hope to guide us through the turbulence of the church that we face today,” Father Linsky said. “We have a wonderful example of one who sorted through the difficulties of his life.”

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste, North Africa, on Nov. 13, 354, and he struggled with evil and sin as a young man. God finally touched his life, and he was baptized by St. Ambrose on Easter in 387.

He began an intense study of his new faith, and in 391 was ordained as an assistance to Bishop Valerius of Hippo. In 396, St. Augustine succeeded Valerius as bishop. He died in 430 as a Doctor of the Church and one of its staunchest defenders.

“The heresies that St. Augustine fought so hard against have come back,” Father Linsky said, and we can look to him for support.

“He had the ability to speak the truth always with clarity for those who are going astray,” Father Linsky added.

Bishop Thompson said St. Augustine had zeal and enthusiasm for his faith that we can look to for inspiration. He said he sees that same energy in St. Augustine Parish, namely in the renovation of Seton House. The parish spent about $50,000 to renovate the home, and parishioners lent their hard work and dedication to the project.

Ron Holden, parishioner, said, “We always knew it could be a beautiful building if we put a lot of love into it.”

PHOTO: Bishop David B. Thompson dedicates Seton Hall as Deacon Harry Pecko holds the dedication book and Father Gary Linsky looks on. (By Joey Reistroffer)