Services in Downingtown for Rev. A.T. Mascherino

Alphonse T. Mascherino
Alphonse T. Mascherino
Posted: February 23, 2013

Services are set for Friday for the Rev. Alphonse T. Mascherino, 69, a Downingtown native who founded the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel in Shanksville, Pa., after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

He died Friday, Feb. 15, of cancer at a hospice in Somerset, Pa., where he lived.

"Father Al" attended Bishop Shanahan High School through the 11th grade before graduating from St. Mary Seminary, formerly in Penndel.

His brother, Jim, said that after the attacks, Father Mascherino felt that although a national monument at Shanksville was in the works, the relatives of those killed in the crash should have a place to go in the meantime.

He bought a rundown feed mill for $300 down, and gave himself a deadline of a year. With the help of friends and businesses, the project was completed by the first anniversary of the crash. Almost immediately, families flocked there, his brother said.

"It's a quiet place filled with mementos from the families. It's very touching to see all the things," he said.

Ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 in the Archdiocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Father Mascherino served dioceses in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Florida, California, and Delaware. His roles included hospital chaplain, evangelical communications/broadcasting specialist, and pastoral minister.

He left the church in 2005 but was subsequently reinstated and is to be buried as a Roman Catholic.

Father Mascherino served as the memorial chapel's director for 12 years before retiring this month for health reasons.

He created the nonprofit memorial to honor everyone who died in the terrorist attacks. Open from March until late fall, it "serves as a spiritual refuge and place of meditation and prayer" for all denominations.

Pat Morris, a retired flight attendant who helped raise money for the Crew of Flight 93 monument at the site, said Father Mascherino was devoted to the project and to the survivors of those who died when United Flight 93 crashed.

"It is his legacy. I don't know many people who are that dedicated," she was quoted as saying in the Somerset Daily American.

In addition to his brother, he is survived by five brothers; two sisters; and nieces and nephews.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 338 Manor Ave., Downingtown. Visitation will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the James J. Terry Funeral Home, 736 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown. Interment is in St. Joseph's Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, Shanksville, Pa. 15560.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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