The priest-administrator of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Scott Township, Allegheny County, in consultation with the parish festival committee, has announced the cancellation of this week’s parish festival because of a disturbing message.

In late July, an office in the Diocese of Pittsburgh Pastoral Center received a handwritten letter that said, in part, “Cancel August 14-17 Festival Security Problem is Huge.” Only one parish, Our Lady of Grace in Scott, was scheduled to hold a festival on those dates.

Although there was no direct threat, the letter raised grave concern because of the “appalling chain of mass violence that our nation has experienced.” The Rev. David Bonnar, the priest-administrator, was immediately notified, and he immediately notified law enforcement. The sender has not been identified, so Father Bonnar announced, with deep regret, that the festival has been canceled.

“The loss of income to Our Lady of Grace Parish and School, and to vendors who were scheduled to work at the festival, pales in comparison to the loss of lives in Dayton, El Paso, Squirrel Hill and too many other places,” read a release from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. “The diocese supports the decision not to risk becoming another name in that tragic litany. But we mourn the loss of carefree community that should be the hallmark of these joyous events.”

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