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Priest who founded Flight 93 Memorial Chapel in western Pa. dies at 69 after cancer battle

A priest who left the Roman Catholic church and founded a nondenominational chapel to honor the victims of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 has died.

The Rev. Alphonse Mascherino died Friday after a long battle with cancer. Archbishop Ramzi Musallam of the Catholic Church of the East says Mascherino died at a Somerset hospice.

Mascherino, who was 69, bought a former Lutheran church and converted it into the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel to honor 40 passengers and crew killed when the airliner crashed during the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Then Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Joseph Adamec said Mascherino's work was commendable but not compatible with his Catholic priesthood.

Mascherino went on to become a bishop in the North American Old Roman Catholic Church.

Miller Funeral Home and Crematory in Somerset is handling Mascherino's arrangements.

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