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The Gingos are unusual in that all their children have opted to stay in the area.

All present remember how it was before people began to leave in large waves, when Edwardsville was a collection of ethnic neighborhoods, but where everyone knew everyone else.

Garment, shoe and textile factories provided some economic hope in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but they could not compete with rivals in the South and abroad.

Consequently, many were forced to leave the region to find jobs.

With few opportunities locally, almost all the young have left.

They bought their meats and vegetables, their candy and liquor at local stores.

Father Theodore Krepp celebrates the blessing of water, a purification rite of profound meaning and quiet drama marking the feast of the baptism of Christ. Anne Byzantine Catholic Church in Harrisburg, which was founded in the 1960’s in part because of migration from towns like Kingston; it now has about the same number of families, but three times the number of children.

Afterward a hushed congregation lines up to fill bottles with the holy water. Few of the 100 or so in attendance are children or, for that matter, young. Mary’s eight years ago, the church had about 275 families. Simply put, demographics indicate that all churches in the region are losing people.

Like many Austro-Hungarians, these people did not have a clear sense of ethnic identity.

Their faith, Catholic or Orthodox, set them apart from their neighbors.

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Mary Protector Byzantine Catholic Church in the northeastern Pennsylvania town of Kingston.

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  1. It embraces every doctrine of Christianity;--first, those doctrines peculiar to Christianity, and then those precepts common to it with natural religion. Coleridge The Epistle to the Ephesians embraces, in its brevity, the whole field of the Christian religion.