Monday, March 16, 2009

Get this...

This story appeared in today's Norwalk Reflector. Damn bit surprising. I will see to it that i post the progress of this endeavor so long as i remember.

Wakeman church pledges $260,000 construction project

WAKEMAN — Pastoral Leader Notre Dame Sister Carroll Schemenauer calls the expansion and renovation of her church “our little capital campaign.”
But in a time when Catholic churches are closing, there’s nothing small about a $260,000 construction project. The renovation at Wakeman St. Mary Catholic Church, 46 E. Main St., could start as early as this month.
“We’re pushing the walls out 13 feet to make room for 110 more people,” Schemenauer said.
The first phase is to take down the siding from the existing building, which was expected to start this week.
The building now seats about 150 at one time. There are 10 pews on each side of the aisle. As part of the renovation, the church has bought longer pews from St. Philip Neri Catholic Church that closed in Cleveland. The 20 new pews will be 7 1/2 feet longer than the present ones, which are 11 feet long.

The expansion also includes a bathroom, since the only ones are next door in the social hall. The building is about a quarter of a city block away from the church, which Schemenauer said is “quite distance” to walk, especially for the elderly parishioners.
The church also needed wider aisles, more pew space and “more sacred space (for) our reconciliation room,” the pastor said.
About five years ago, more young families with children started coming to Wakeman St. Mary.
Lifelong member Bob Matus said many of those family members were relatives of other parishioners.
“Some of them came back. Some stayed there,” the 71-yearold man said.
As their numbers started to grow, the church members started realizing the building itself wasn’t able to hold everybody. Matus, who was born in Wakeman, credits the young people with bringing up the idea of expanding the church building.
The parish began to discern what needed to happen by using a “beginning survey.”
“We knew we couldn’t afford to build a new church. We liked the church the way it was,” Matus said.
The first part of the building — now the sacristy — was built in 1872. The first addition was six years later, which is what is used now as the worship space.
To do the upcoming renovation/expansion, Schemenauer, the pastor since July 1, 2006, said her parishioners had to prioritize.
“Our goal was needs. We couldn’t afford wants,” she said, adding there were nine ideas at the beginning.
“We took many ideas and tried to put them together,” Matus said.
By late June, Wakeman St. Mary was collecting pledges to be spread over three to five years for the $260,000 renovation. By
about September, the church had reached its pledge goal.
“It’s good. … It’s going well,” Schemenauer said.
“The response was tremendous,” Matus agreed.
Wakeman St. Mary was founded in 1849 with 49 Irish parishioners.
“They came as far as the train would take them and get off to work on the (U.S. 20) railroad tracks,” Schemenauer said.
Presently, the church has about 200 people on its rolls, including inactive members. The church averages 170 to 180 people total at two services.
“You might have 60 on Saturday afternoon and the rest on Sunday morning,” Schemenauer said.
Matus, the volunteer contractor for the new project, said the biggest challenge is cutting out both sides of the building and installing columns to hold the edges.
“Our architect has confidence we’ll have no problem doing that,” said Matus, who has been a contractor as “a kind of hobby” for the last decade.
Architect Dan Fredericks, of Milan, was hired in the fall.
The church hopes to start construction in April. Matus said it could start this month, depending on how things go.
There are 10 subcontractors for the project. Two of them are parishioners. One subcontractor will handle the concrete and excavation work.
“The other one is going to do the framing,” Matus said. “They’re anxious to get going.”
While the renovation is going on, the church will meet in the social hall which can hold about 200 people at one time.
“Bob (Matus) thinks we can be in before Christmas Eve, probably before,” Schemenauer said.
Matus is even more optimistic, estimating the parishioners could start using their expanded church as early as October. Either way, he said, “there will be quite the celebration.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was reprinted with the permission of the Catholic Chronicle.

This model shows what Wakeman St. Mary Catholic Church will look like after its $260,000 renovation project. Work could start as early as this month.

Pastoral Leader Notre Dame Sister Carroll Schemenauer
(foreground), the pastor of Wakeman St. Mary Catholic Church, sits inside of her church on one of the pews that will be replaced by longer ones. Behind her is Robert Matus, the general contractor and lifelong parishioner who will oversee the renovation to increase the size of the historic structure.



Jeffrey Smith said...

Judging by the model they're doing it right. Much better than just tacking something on the front. The design's actually rather good. As for the interior, it's already been modified, so it's no big deal.

Reference Services said...

I am not Catholic, but I am so glad to hear of this wonderful generosity,
especially when so many churches are being closed or merged!

mwncheesehead said...

"Sister Carroll Schemenauer
the pastor of Wakeman St. Mary Catholic Church, sits inside of her church..." Sr Schemenauer the PASTOR??? Her church?? Since when are women pastors of Catholic Churches?!?! God Almighty help us!

Jeffrey Smith said...

"Pastoral leader", not pastor. Several small rural parishes have nuns to run the day to day operations, while priests come to say Mass. Works well, and the bishop seems to have no problem with it.