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January 2014

Faith Seeking Understanding: Church History

Church HistoryJoin us for the next series of topics in our Faith Seeking Understanding discussions every Wednesday evening at 7 PM in the St. Michael Media Room in Holy Cross School.

In the coming weeks, we will discuss church history using How to Read Church History Volume 1: The Beginnings to the Fifteenth Century by Jean Comby. We should have a limited quantity of the books at the Parish Office by Monday. The requested donation is $ 20. The book is available online at Amazon and from many online sellers of used books. I can't figure out an efficient process to buy bulk quantities of one used title. 

We will be using this title for many weeks with the possible exception during Lent when we might cover a Lenten theme. 

We will supplement the readings with slide illustrations of the some of the works of art and architecture referenced in the text.


Church Project Update

IcepenSeveral exciting developments with the church project:

  • Design of the Donor Memorial Book is proceeding. The cast bronze cover and first page should be on hand for viewing in the near future. The cover will feature a casting of our altar cross.
  • Revision of sketch for new St. Michael the Archangel aisle window is being worked on, as is a sketch for a second, new rose window design for the choir loft.  Final design sketches will be published as soon as we have them.
  • Final design of a window depicting events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi is pending. This window will use 4 of the 14 scenes from the life of St. Francis we own from the other windows. This window will be located between St. Francis’ main window and St. Clare’s window. One of the scenes features Francis blessing Clare.
  • Electricians are working in the church basement, even in this cold, and steel workers continue to weld the beams and supports.
  • The relics will be cut from our old altar stones and installed in our new altar when the altar is consecrated by our bishop at the church dedication.
  • Design plans are being worked on to re-use our ambry (oil repository), poor boxes, holy water stoups and processional cross. Bronze/brass items will be cleaned, polished and lacquered.
  • The newly purchased baptismal font will be shipped to the same marble mason who is working on fabricating our new altar. It will be polished, repaired and a drilled with a drain.
  • Two marble angel statues we had planned to purchase from a closed church in Philadelphia are now unavailable due to a contractual dispute between the buyer of the building and the Archdiocese.
  • Right now, plans are to reinstall our old electronic bell carillon and also to reuse the speakers which are still in the church steeple. An upgrade to a more modern and efficient system is being considered pending both an inspection of the old unit to determine its working order and the cost of a new electronic bell carillon.
  • The original church bell still hangs in the steeple. As part of the renovation project, an electric striker to ring the bell will be installed.
  • Weather delays
    • Manufacture and delivery of the steel trusses
    • Pouring of concrete floor
    • Construction site meeting postponed until next week

Snow On the Church and Snow IN the Church


An unusual site, to be sure: snow in the church. The high winds have drifted snow here and there on the site with some areas clear and others buried under drifts.

I may try for a closer picture later in the day, but for now, I didn't feel like trekking out in knee-high drifts to get one!

The electricians are working in the basement today. Tomorrow there is on on-site meeting with architects, contractor and owner.


January 22 Liturgies: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 3 PM

Our maintenance crew did a terrific job of plowing out the parking lot this morning and sanding the walkways, so we were able to celebrate Mass at 9 AM.

We have exposed the Blessed Sacrament for adoration until 3 PM on this very important day. Let us pray for the conversion of so many minds and hearts around the world to respect the dignity of human life. Let us encourage one another to counteract the growing tend to treat human life like a commodity.

Our chapel webcam is also streaming for those who can join in a moment of prayer on the web.


Basement Beginnings

Workmen were still welding when I walked down into the basement this afternoon, so I surely needed my hard hat. 

It's not fancy, yet, but it's quite a different view from the time when there was nothing but sky above when standing in the same place. 

It is uncertain whether the trusses will be released from the manufacturer next week for installation. Their installation will make a remarkable change in the profile of the building and should be quite exciting to see.


Church Construction

Now that more of the church building is beginning to take shape, more than one contractor has work to do. It's interesting to see plumbers, carpenters, electricians and steel workers all on hand.

I was in the new church basement with the architect last week, but didn't have a  camera. It looks very different now that there is a ceiling over the space. Since it's a nice day and the mud has dried out a bit, perhaps today is a good day for me to climb down into the basement and take a photo.

We've contacted the stained glass window studio about the possibility of creating a full sized stained glass window from 4 of the 14 panels we own depicting events in the life of Francis. One of the scenes is Francis meeting Clare, which would be included in a window to be located between each of their separate windows. We have a choice of three other scenes. Probable choices are St. Francis giving his riches, St. Francis and the Christmas Manger, St. Francis and the Animals. Since we already own the glass, this window should be economical. I'll post the details once we have the cost estimate from the studio.

This is a rough digital composite of what the window would look like:




The Crane has left the Building

IronworkersThe crane was dissembled and driven off the site today, having finished its assigned tasks. Iron workers continue to weld connections in the steel building frame.

The carpenter is affixing clips to the beams on which the trusses will be installed. Hopefully, the delivery will be next week.

Electricians have installed temporary lighting to the church basement and plumbers have installed the septic and ejection pumps in the basement level. 


Progress Report on Church Building

Crane_hook_04_dwutavrThe stained glass artist is working on a second rendering of a potential new St. Michael stained glass window after receiving some feedback from the architect and staff on the initial drawing.

Cleaning and restoration of Holy Cross windows are underway. Several are 80% complete.

Steel trusses are scheduled for delivery in approximately one week. These will align the roofline of new and old.

Workmen are continuing to install the deck in preparation for another concrete pour. You can also see the floors for the choir loft and organ in the second story. 

A Memorial Donor design is being finalized. It will be a bronze book kept on a pedestal in the gathering space. The cover and Page One dedication to major donors will be available for viewing in a few weeks.

Thank you to all those who are continuing to fulfill pledge donations; your faithfulness is much appreciated. There are still many opportunities for donors to memorialize items in the Church. Please call the Parish Office to express your interest.


Stained Glass Cleaning and Repair Well Underway

I hope that you have been able to check out Beyer Studios live web camera feed; they are now working on many of our windows, both the originals from Holy Cross and the ones we purchased from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Link to Beyer Studio 

Here are some photos of the repairs underway:

St. Alphonse and St. Anthony Windows
Portions of the St. Helena Window


Sts. Alphonsus and Anthony: Portions can be recognized


St Francis
Portions of the Windows from St. Francis


Oxidation being washed from the windows

School's Back But Not Easily!

What formidable weather we've had over the past few days. Snowfall, rain storms, gale force winds and bitter cold! Quite an interesting two days for school to reopen.

Happily, we had plowed the snow away by Saturday evening and then the rains helped wash the parking lot clear of snow. The rains didn't flood anything and except for a casualty in the Christmas manger (Joseph fell onto the fiberglass ox, wounding its side with his lantern!), the high winds seem not to have done any damage. The high winds are supposed to calm down overnight along with double digit temperatures tomorrow. Even the overground temporary water supply pipe to the rectory didn't freeze!

Blessed New Year

TheotokosBlessed New Year to everyone!

The Vigil mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God in our little chapel was packed and the Spirit was truly present.

The Marian hymns sounded spectacular as everyone present raised their voices in song. I can't speak for everyone, but I was a little sad there weren't more verses to sing.


Thank you to everyone who sent cards, well wishes and gifts to the Parish Office for myself and the Parish Staff. We appreciate them very much. I especially enjoy all the photo cards of our parish's growing families!