The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 23, 2013

Chapel founder honored

Patrick Buchnowski

SHANKSVILLE — The life of the Rev. Alphonse T. Mascherino was celebrated on Saturday during an emotional service at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel near Shanksville.

Mascherino founded the chapel to honor the 40 “heroes” of Flight 93, who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Catholic Church of the East held a memorial Mass for Mascherino, who died of cancer on Feb. 15 at age 69.

“Our brother Alphonse is in heaven with all the heroes of Flight 93,” said Archbishop Ramzi R. Musallam. “So today he joins them and becomes hero No. 41.”

Mascherino left all chapel property to the Catholic Church of the East.

Thirty-three members of the North Star Kids from Pittsburgh performed to a standing-room-only crowd.

It was an emotional tribute to Mascherino, who turned a dilapidated building into a nondenominational chapel. It is visited annually by thousands who pay homage to the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93.

The chapel is about three miles from the crash site.

In a 2007 interview with The Tribune-Democrat, Mascherino reinforced the chapel’s mission.

“It’s important to keep their memories alive,” he said. “The voice of Flight 93 will never be silenced.”

 Many knew Mascherino was a man dedicated to ministering to those of different faiths.

“We have seen this man who had been a priest for more than 30 years who loved Jesus Christ,” the archbishop said. “He was here to serve all people.”

Mascherino was laid to rest in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in his hometown of Downingtown in Chester County.

Retired District Judge Arthur Cook offered closing remarks about his friend, who he called a servant.

“Everyone on this planet falls into two categories: Those who serve themselves and those who serve others,” Cook said. “Father Alphonse always served others.”

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