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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Thursday, March 4, 2004 -  Contact Joseph Giomboni Public Relations office (570) 208-5957 or Sandra Faux Public Relations Office (570) 208-5958

SLOVAK COMMUNITY LEADERS MEET WITH KING'S;

FIRST CATHOLIC SLOVAK LADIES PRESENT $15,000 GRANT

Thursday, March 4, 2004- Representatives of local Slovak-American organizations including the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association (FCSLA) and the Slovak Heritage Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania met with King’s College officials recently to discuss shared interests in research and education about the legacy of Slovak immigration in northeastern Pennsylvania. Of particular interest is the relationship, established during the Great Immigration, between the Catholic Church and fraternal organizations in preserving the values and culture of the homeland while easing the transition of immigrants to a new, democratic society.

On behalf of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association (FCSLA), Magdalen Iskra presented a grant award of $15,000 to King’s College President Rev. Thomas J. O;Hara, C.S.C. ’71. The grant supports the work of the Ethnic Communities Initiative, founded last year and coordinated by Rev. Patrick Sullivan, C.S.C., of King’s to explore, recognize, and celebrate the role of ethnic communities and their voluntary associations in the past, present and future civic life of northeastern Pennsylvania.

The FCSLA grant will promote research about the contributions of Father Joseph Murgas (1864-1929) to Slovak and American culture. Father Murgas founded the Sacred Heart Slovak Catholic Church on North Main Street in Wilkes-Barre in 1896, where he remained as pastor until his death. Father Murgas was a talented inventor who revolutionized wireless telegraphy through the use of a tone system for transmission of the human voice by wireless means. He was also an accomplished painter, poet, botanist and lepidopterist. A portion of his collection of rare butterflies has been donated to King’s College.

An FCSLA grant will promote research about the contributions to bicultural ethnic understanding by the late Rev. Joseph Murgas. Pictured with part of Father Murgas’s extensive butterfly collection are, from left, row 1: Martha Iskra, Anna Hudock, Magdalen Iskra, Father Thomas J. O’Hara, C.S.C., Maggie Benish, Bernadette Yencha, and Rev. Patrick Sullivan, C.S.C. Row 2: Frank Pasquini, Michael Stretonski, Philip Tuhy, Andrew Chuba Representatives of local Slovak-American organizations including the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association (FCSLA) and the Slovak Heritage Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania met at King’s to discuss interests in research and education. Row 1, from left: Anna Hudock, Magdalen Iskra, Bernadette Yencha, and Martha Iskra. Row 2: Philip Tuhy, Maggie Benish, Fr. Thomas J. O’Hara, C.S.C., Trudy Check Tuhy, Andrew Chuba, Michael Stretonski