Parish projects meet critical needs

GEORGETOWN—We Stand With Christ is making much needed parish projects possible, and for Father David Leopold, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Georgetown, that means a new roof. Not one but three.

Worshipping in a church that is almost 140 years old certainly has its historic appeal, but it also presents challenges when it comes to maintenance.

“Our focus was mainly on one critical need that we had for at least a year at Sacred Heart,” said Father Leopold. “The shingles on the roof of the church building were starting to deteriorate, and we had to do something.”

Water was leaking into the hallway that led downstairs, where there are offices, and Father feared that if the problem was left untreated, the interior walls of the church would be damaged. When roofers came to look at the job, they discovered there were already four layers of shingles on the roof, which had to be removed.

The work on the church and two other buildings—the parish hall and religious education center along with a garage—was completed last November over the Thanksgiving weekend. During that time, Masses were held in the hall.

Father Leopold is especially grateful to his parishioners for their pledges to the We Stand With Christ campaign, which made the work possible. “I really appreciated what they did,” he said. “I know that everybody has his or her financial strains, and I was very thankful for their participation.”

“It is kind of a mundane project, but a critical project for us because you don’t want to have a roof leaking, and the proceeds we received from We Stand With Christ enabled us to do the job before it got worse,” he said. “Now, it looks perfect.”

St. Timothy Chapel in Greenwich celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, and throughout its history, it has been a favorite place to worship for people in northern Greenwich and visitors who come across the border from New York State. Part of the St. Michael the Archangel Parish, it was recently renovated with funds made possible through We Stand With Christ.

Father Ian Jeremiah, pastor, said the parish’s main concern was ensuring that the chapel was handicapped accessible because there are many elderly parishioners who need assistance.

“Instead of building a long ramp, we raised the gradient of the ground to make it incline into the church entrance,” Father Jeremiah said. In addition, they created a new gathering space outside that was farther away from the traffic. They also built a handicapped bathroom and installed new flooring and applied a fresh coat of paint and did some landscaping this spring. Now, the parish is looking forward to the day when restrictions on public gatherings are lifted, and Bishop Frank J. Caggiano can come to rededicate the chapel.

In addition to the chapel project, a major renovation of St. Michael the Archangel in Greenwich began two weeks earlier than scheduled once public Masses were suspended. The project is expected to take nine months to complete, and parishioners are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in the renovated church. During the construction period, when public Masses resume, the parish will worship in the cafeteria of Greenwich Catholic School.

“We want to recapture space in the church,” Father Jeremiah said. “We need a lot more gathering space so the vestibule will be extended.” In addition, there will be more conference rooms for church ministries and renovations to Guinan Hall, new pews and flooring, along with a new HVac system, a new driveway and more garden space around the church.

The additional space for meeting rooms is needed because of the new young families joining the parish and a parish effort to revitalize the youth ministries.

“Even amidst these challenging times, good things are happening,” Father Jeremiah told his parishioners in an update on the project. “Please pray for the success of our rebuilding and the safety of everyone involved in the construction.”

St. Michael surpassed its goal in the capital campaign, and Father praised his parishioners for their generosity. “I was gratefully and pleasantly surprised,” he said. “We have generous parishioners, so I thank our good Lord and the bishop for his guidance.”

By Joe Pisani