Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week I would like to give you an update on the Church Restoration Projection. First of all, I would like to thank you for your patience and your cooperation during the time in which we are celebrating at St. Mary’s Chapel.
Soon after the fire happened back in January, I recall being somewhat overwhelmed with the thought of what we had to accomplish to bring the church back for our use. I asked the archdiocese insurance representatives how quickly “all the work” can be completed, imagining that it would only take a few months. Naively, I might have mentioned publicly that after the summer the church would be ready. They all chuckled out of respect to me, but they knew that it would take much longer than that. Once the work began, a more realistic timeframe, although still wishful, was projected for November by our committee. The response to my question at the meeting was actually, “Father, if the church is ready within the year that would be miracle.”
We have explored many options to improve the church while being mindful that all work must proceed in a financially responsible and liturgically appropriate manner. Recently, the Archdiocese provided direction on how to proceed. The final program involves improving the lighting system, updating the sound system, upgrading the sacristy, removing the fans, painting the ceiling, refinishing the pews and replacing the flooring. Restoration of the pews and replacement of some of the light fixtures will not be completed until mid January.
We are working diligently to be able to have a Christmas Miracle this year, that is, to celebrate Christmas in the Upper Church. We will need to rent chairs for use in the Upper Church until the pews are ready in January. You will notice a lot of activity in the Upper Church between now until Christmas. The next steps include putting down new flooring and electrical work for the upgraded lighting package.
The current approach is to have the church ready for decorating by December 19th. If everything goes according to plan, and the Big Boss up there continues to help us, we should make it!
I ask you to keep the whole project and the workers in your payers. I take advantage to remind you all about our 24 hour adoration starting this Sunday evening and going through Monday evening.
Father Steven Clemence