Welcome to Fr. René Constanza, CSP, here to preach the Annual Paulist Appeal. We are happy to have him back for a visit! And I hope you will all be supportive of the Paulist Fathers with your prayers (especially for vocations!) and your financial gifts. THANKS!
Let me update you on the renovation project of our church and rectory. The front half of the first floor of the rectory, which had in the past been the church offices and had become the nursery and a collection of various Paulists’ personal items and junk, has been totally gutted and cleared out. Following that, asbestos abatement took place after the carpet was ripped out and under it was discovered the original 1953 floor tile, containing asbestos. That is now all gone. Now construction in that part of the rectory has begun, putting back the walls of the nursery, including a new bathroom in the nursery, and clearing out the rest of the space. I foresee this new space as being used for a number of activities: a bride’s room, place for families to gather prior to funerals, meeting room for small committees and study groups, and space for children’s faith formation or Children’s Liturgy of the Word. The nursery will continue in this space as well.
In addition, the masons have been doing a lot of testing about the cleaning and repair of the stone on the sides where we are not replacing the stone. New stone will be only on the front of the church and rectory. The other three sides will be cleaned, patched and sealed. The masons have tested several products to see how they would work at cleaning our stone, and testing various options for patching and replacing pieces where needed. To see some of the test stones, step outside into the small alcove between the church and rectory (out the handicapped entrance) and look at the church wall. That spot was selected to test since it will be totally covered by the interior wall of the new lobby leading to the new bathrooms. Pull tests were also conducted on several types of anchors for the new stone, and happily, the least expensive option did the best. Meanwhile the stone is being quarried, cut and prepared. On Thursday, January 26, several of the staff and building committee were gone to Florence, TX to view the quarry and the stone preparation. I will report on that later.
In March, scaffolding will be erected in front of the church. Starting at the top and working down, the old stone will be removed. It is expected to not come off in blocks, but in irregular pieces. Several parishioners have asked about acquiring the stone, and if they are willing to haul it away, they are welcome to it.
Once all the stone is removed, then beginning at the bottom and working up to the top the new stone will be installed. The trickiest and longest piece will be the tower.
As we get into the actual construction I will give you further updates. Please remember the workers in your prayers.