Sunday, January 02, 2011

Renovation of Saint Boniface Begins

Today, after the 10:30 am Mass, Saint Boniface Church closed for a series of projects; the church will reopen for Easter Vigil Mass, April 23, AD 2010. (Er, AD 2011! Thanks to readers for catching this! See what happens when I dash it off fast?)

We will be repainting the interior, replacing the stark white walls with a faux sandstone design; statues once in church are being restored and will be returned to church; six new images of saints will be painted and installed behind the altar. The ceiling will be painted a rich blue, with gold stars.

We are installing a new floor, a combination of hardwood and tile, replacing the carpet; and new pews.

This afternoon, a group of volunteers showed up and we begin taking out the old pews, to put in storage for the time being. They will ultimately be made available to parishioners. We are replacing them because they are in such bad shape. The new pews will be very traditional and will match the old as much as possible. And, yes, they will have kneelers; in fact, they will be easier to kneel at than the old ones.

We also began tearing up the old carpet. We will reclaim as much of it as we can for other uses, but it's showing a lot of wear. If we weren't doing all the other work, we'd have gotten 5-10 more years out of it; but with the church needing painting, it made sense to deal with the pews; and then it made sense to deal with the floor as well.

Everyone is excited about this; it has been in the works for several years, and we have been gearing up for it for about 9 months now. Now we are finally starting on the work.

Meanwhile, we will have Sunday Mass in the gym, and daily Mass in the chapel. We have a lot of kinks to work out with that! Please pray for a smooth project.

As we go forward, if parishioners who are snapping pictures send me some to the parish email, I'll post them.


Anonymous said...

I assume you meant Easter 2011? That mistake just reminded me I should go write 2011 on all the checks in my purse or else I'll be doing the same for months.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean the church will reopen in 2011, Father, not 2010. :-)

Christian said...

Time Travel! What a totally cool way of showing how Holy Mass is 'timeless'. I gotta hand it to your parish father, you guys think outside the box (or in this case, calendar.)


Anonymous said...

Just to set the record straight, not everyone is excited about this.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Anonymous 12:36:

Well, just to review: in 2009, the Pastoral Council gave its approval to forming a committee to make plans.

In April 2010, the plans prepared by a committee of parishioners, including Father Caserta, were unanimously approved by Pastoral Council, pending presentation to parishioners.

Right after that, the plans were presented to parishioners, who were invited both to ask questions and had a chance to vote by secret ballot. By ballot, well over 80% of parishioners gave unqualified support; some of the rest supported part of the project.

One of the concerns was paying for it; so with the help of a group of parishioners, we raised over $100,000, on top of the money we'd already raised. So the entire project is completely paid for with contributions.

Also, I might point out that the paint is falling off the ceiling, so that's why we're painting the church.

The pews are falling apart (many of them fell to pieces as we moved them--carefully--today); that's why we have to replace them.

The carpeting could go another 10 years; however, that would mean moving the pews in another 10 years; and it would mean foregoing a hardwood-and-tile floor that we are getting a little above cost.

Because the businessman gave us this incredible price, the cost of a hardwood-and-tile floor will be a few thousand more than carpet. Yes, that's more; but since the carpet would have to be replaced in another 20 years or so, then foregoing the hardwood and tile floor now would cost the parish a lot of money in years to come. This option saves the parish money for many years to come--in addition to being beautiful.

So, yes, it is costing a large sum of money; but if we hadn't undertaken the project, or done less, almost all the money we're spending would not have been donated anyway. The speed with which it was donated is pretty strong evidence that parishioners support this project; not to mention the secret ballot that was 80+% in favor.

So, I'm sorry some aren't enthusiastic, but here's my question: When you have such strong support from the Pastoral Council, the parishioners in the pews, and in donations, what do you think I should do?

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet no parish in recorded history ever has had all parishioners in favor of any renovation in the form it went forward.


ignorant redneck said...

Picture please? Architects studies or what have you. please! After seeing most churches i knew in youth made ugly, i'd like to se a church made beautiful!

Fr Martin Fox said...

Ignorant Redneck:

Working on it! We've had folks snapping pictures all week, as the pews were taken out, the carpet was taken up, and all the fixtures and statues were put away (temporarily!) to protect them while the church is prepped and painted.

The pics right now would not be edifying, but they will be when it is finished.

FYI, one unavoidable sadness was taking out the existing pews; but to confirm how bad they are, 25% of them fell apart as they were moved (carefully, I was helping), 50% were close to falling apart but the volunteers handled them gingerly, leaving just one in four pews actually sound; and many of those have cracks.

So, we'd have rather saved the pews, but they were too far gone. The good news is the new pews will be very traditional (and yes they will have proper kneelers!), as beautiful and like the old pews as possible.

Anyway, stay tuned, when I get some pictures back from folks, I'll post them.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like it'a going to be a beautiful and much needed renovation! I just love walking into a church and feeling God's arms wrap around me. Those churches are few and far between since the 60's. I hope everyone who enters feels His presence.

Good Luck and God Bless!

Anonymous said...

The good folks over at The New Liturgical Movement would be interested in featuring your before and after photos!