Rev. Jozef Murgaš Room Dedication
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The Slovak Heritage Society of NEPA is so pleased to announce the “Father Jozef Murgaš Room” was dedicated on June 4, 2015. This room is located on the first floor of King’s on the Square, former Ramada Inn, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. It is open Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
The dedication began with a prayer in Slovak and English by Rev. John Albosta, Chaplain of SHSNEPA. John Loyack, Vice President of Business Affairs at King’s, offered greetings and remarks mentioning that he is of Slovak Heritage. He said the room pays tribute to a man who epitomized Abraham Lincoln’s advice that “the best way to predict the future is to create it. Father Murgaš did that, with everything from radio to reinventing the fishing reel”.
Rev. John J. Ryan C.S.C., Ph. D, President of King’s College, in his remarks, noted among Father’s accomplishments he remained a priest and the room could “remind us that no matter how hard we work, we need a Sabbath moment… To reflect on why we do what we do.”
Dr. Thomas M. Check, D.D.S. gave a brief history on the life of Father Murgaš; born 1864 and died May 11, 1929. Dr. Check was one of the first financial contributors to the room. He was baptized by Father Murgaš whose name is on his baptismal certificate.
It took 86 years but now we have a permanent place for the historical items that were shown in our traveling exhibit. Magdalen thanked all whose financial contributions made this room possible.
Father Ryan and Magdalen Benish proceeded to bless the room and the artifacts. Father Albosta said the closing prayer and invited all to join in singing “Hej Slovaci”. There were very few dry eyes in the assembly.
Some of the above information was taken from an article by Mark Guydish, published in the Time Leader on June 7, 2015.
Inside you will see the vestments of Fathers Murgaš , a picture of him when he was ordained a priest, an original painting which he started on the reverse side, didn’t like it and started over on the back, copies of the paintings that were on the alters at Sacred Heart Church, butterfly collection, picture of the Botanical Garden he envisioned at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Dallas, picture of the rare Beech tree that is in the yard by Sacred Heart Church, a copy of the Pittsburg Pact, his desk, and panels of the towers that transmitted sound from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton. The 34 x 72 inch glass panels placed on opposite sides of the room were artistically hand carved and enhanced with LED lighting… symbolizing and honoring Father Jozef Murgaš for his notable invention of the famous wireless telegraphy towers he built in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
The stained glass butterfly panel, in the center of the ceiling, is comprised of over 1100 pieces of various shades of hand blown stained glass, brilliant bevels, and imported faceted jewels. Each piece is hand cut, ground, copper foiled and soldered in the tiffany tradition designed by Helfran Glass Co. of Edwardsville PA. The panel has a central “monarch” butterfly linking the connection and gratitude of the Slovak Heritage Society to King’s College for their involvement in helping to create this memorable room.
On the wall outside the room is a collage that shows his other paintings, articles in newspapers, his grave site, the Slovak prayer card from his funeral, and a stamp that Slovakia issued commemorating him.
This project was a marvelous success and the dedication was inspiring with approximately 300 people attending. Among them were Rep. Karen Boback, Liz O’Brien Gorski who represented Senator John Yudichak, and Daniel F. Tanzone, of the Slovak League of America and Editor of the Slovak Catholic Falcon. Words cannot explain how we feel about this accomplishment. Now we have a permanent place for the Father Murgaš artifacts, just a short distance from North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre where he transmitted the first sound between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton by wireless.
Thanks to all who worked on this project including; Magdalen Benish, Chief Fundraiser and Project Coordinator; Bernadette Yencha, Chief Correspondent; and Michael Stretanski, Custodian of the Artifacts, who was in charge of the Murgaš exhibit that traveled all though Pennsylvania for the past several years at many schools, colleges and various festivals.
Special thanks to Bill Lynn, Director of Major Gifts and Cheryl Nardone, Administrative Assistant at King’s who spent many hours helping us coordinate this project.
We appreciate the talent and creative abilities of Kyle Kinsman, Architect; Tiffany Bet, Architect Associate; John Panzitta, General Contractor; and Thomas Butchko, Project Manager who made this room a lasting museum in memory of Father Murgaš. Others whose assistance was appreciated were, Dr. Thomas Check, Helfran Glass, Betty Pirnick, David Lepore, and Bob Phillips.
Information on all of accomplishments of Father Murgaš can be found on this web site under Rev. Jozef Murgaš.
How this room came about:
At the SHSNEPA annual meeting in May 2014, Magdalen Benish presented the idea, which the Board had approved, of this room to the members present. In one year’s time, Miss Benish raised $100,000 dollars. Much of her fundraising was face to face with potential donors. The Society wants to thank Magdalen for all her efforts. A plague with donor names of $1,000 or more is on the wall outside the room.
Introducing the Father Jozef Murgaš endowed Scholarship at King’s College:
An anonymous donor requested the establishment of an endowed scholarship fund named for Father Jozef Murgaš. The scholarship will provide annual support to a talented King’s student with financial need. Please consider making your own gift or pledge to this fund to support future bright minds like Father Murgaš.
Make checks payable to King’s College and mail to King’s College, 133 N. River Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711. For more information, please contact Bill Lynn at King’s College (570-208-5946) williamlynn @ kings.edu.