RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH
We could not have imagined what happened to our Church on January 20th, 2019. The fire was devastating and caused much more damage than we originally thought. This is not the first time our Church has suffered a catastrophic loss. In 1869, the Church was hit by lightning causing extensive damage. The steeple of the church was toppled by the 1938 New England Hurricane.
The parishioners of Immaculate Conception Parish are a dedicated and generous group of people. We have come together in our temporary home in the lower Church. But it's time to continue our preparations to return to our home in the upper Church. We are fortunate that the insurance will cover all the fire related damage and we have the opportunity to address other vitally important aspects of the church in a cost-effective manner. For instance, using the scaffolding for other improvements while the insurance restoration proceeds saves us a lot of money. Delaying these much needed projects would only cost us more money in the future.
We have identified the following needs:
Pew Restoration – Over the last 50 years, the pews have been subject to the accumulation of dirt, grease, oils, and other debris. Periodic cleaning has helped maintain the appearance but it also sealed in some of the debris with the application of polishes and cleaners. We have the opportunity to refinish the pews and re-align the spacing to make more comfortable and bring the access into compliance with current safety requirements.
Flooring-Current titles are buckling and must be replaced. In addition to posing a trip hazard, the buckling tiles allow for water to penetrate through the seams and could damage the subfloor and Lower Church below. With the pews removed, this is the time to replace them so there is no future disruption. A few years ago, Fr. Michael replaced some tiles to try to extend the life of the floor but they have reached the end of their economic life.
Lights- Lighting is decades old, inefficient, and bulbs are no longer available for the main fixtures in parts of the church. The lighting needs to be updated while the scaffolding is up to replace the fixtures with more efficient LED lighting. We are working with MassSave to try to convert all lighting to LED lighting that is energy efficient and cost-effective.
Music- Each music group brings their own equipment which is inconvenient and difficult for our music ministry volunteers. Enhancing our music ministry area will provide better quality sound with pre-programmed equipment for use by all music groups.
I, and the restoration committee will be holding a meeting to present the project to the parish in the Chapel (Lower Church).
Our predecessors who faced catastrophic losses rose to the challenge and rebuilt our Church. Now it's our turn to prepare our Church for the generations that sit in the pews of our Church after us. The IC Church Restoration Fund has been created for this purpose. It is our turn to be good stewards of our parish home. We are undertaking this project not just for us, but for future generations that will call Immaculate Conception home. Our fundraising goal is $600,000.00. This may seem like an insurmountable sum, but together we can achieve this goal. Please watch the parish website, Facebook, and the future bulletins for more information about how you can help restore our parish home.
Anyone who wishes to make a contribution to the IC Church Restoration Fund now may do so using the green envelopes located in the back of the Church, or via the on-line giving link or PayPal link on the parish website.
Our Parish has persevered through natural disasters, burst pipes, and failing boilers. Together, we will overcome the challenges we are facing together as a result of the fire of 2019.
Fr Steven Clemence
Father Steven Clemence