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Loud-Praying Women Are Arrested Outside Church

April 14, 1995

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Two women whose loud praying drowns out the priest and the choir were arrested as they tried to attend Good Friday services in defiance of a court order.

Sheriff’s deputies took Joan Sudwoj and Cynthia Balconi into custody at the doors to Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. They were charged with criminal trespass, which carries up to two years in prison.

Common Pleas Judge Bernard Scherer had barred the women from the Roman Catholic church on Wednesday because of their loud praying. He banned them from another church last week.

On Thursday, the women entered Blessed Sacrament, prayed loudly and took Communion. The judge set a hearing for next week on whether they should be held in contempt of court for violating his ban.

The women, described in church newsletters as the ``shouting ladies,″ have been accused over the past two years of disrupting worship as well as baptisms and confessions by shouting the rosary prayer and splashing holy water.

They have given no explanation for their actions.

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