The Last Piece

COVER PHOTO: The last piece (I hope it is THE LAST!) of the renovation of Immaculate Conception is now in place. Thanks to the craftsmanship of Saint John parishioner Ted Martin the church once again has an ambry. And what is an ambry you ask? Well, let's ask Wikipedia:

An ambry is a recessed cabinet in the wall of a Christian church for storing sacred vessels and vestments. [...] In Roman Catholic usage, [...] it is traditionally in the sanctuary (as in the altar area) of a church or in the Baptistry and is used to store the oils used in sacraments: Oil of Catechumens (indicated by the Latin letters O.C.), Oil of the Sick (O.I.), and Sacred Chrism (S.C.).

The previous ambry was a nondescript cabinet on the wall in the sanctuary near the former location of the baptismal font. Since the reopening of the church on Pentecost 2017 the two oils used in baptism (the Oil of Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism) had been stored in the priests' sacristy and carried to the back of the church for each celebration. This had only been intended as a temporary measure until a proper ambry was obtained for the back of the church in the new. Rather than buying a ready-made ambry from a church goods catalogue my desire was to have something uniquely crafted. Which is where Ted Martin entered the picture. Ted's work is evident in all three Connellsville churches and he and I worked closely on the renovation of the sanctuary at my previous pastorate, Saint John the Baptist in Perry-DISE. Thus it was only natural that he was the first person to enter my mind for the project. But I wasn't pressing the issue.

In the meantime Ted was working on raising the choir loft railing to regulation height. While he was up there he "nebbed around" a bit and discovered (and fell in love with!) a lunette above a never-seen door behind the organ. And the next time I mentioned the ambry to him he had decided to use that lunette as the main element for the project. And what you see on the cover is the end result. Almost. The framing around the ambry (which framed it in its original setting) will eventually be stained or painted to match the rest of the décor.

MEMORIALS: I hope soon to start work on the memorial plaque for the sesquicentennial restoration of Immaculate Conception. So as to have everything uniform and matching on the plaque I would prefer to have EVERYTHING memorialized prior to having it manufactured. (Often later add-ons stick out like the proverbial "sore thumb" as it can be difficult to match the original at a later date. As of now there are only THREE memorial opportunities remaining: the above mentioned ambry (for 4k) the ambo (aka pulpit, 7k), and the roundel of Saint Matthew the Evangelist (10k). These memorials can be split amongst more than one donor and arrangements can be made for payments rather than one lump sum. If interested please contact Fr. Bob.

MAIN ENTRANCE AT SAINT RITA: As anyone who has attended Saint Rita since the installation of the new floor has noticed, the interior glass doors at the centre entrance have DISAPPEARED. Unfortunately the new tile raised the floor to a level incompatible with the doors and since the frame was metal we couldn't "cut them down.” (The wooden doors to the choir loft and confessional WERE able to be planed down to fit the higher floor.) The removal of the doors left an ugly "scar"but Saint John's Ted Martin came tot he rescue and refinished the doorway. Please pray for Ted as he just had his knee replaced TODAY (Tuesday 30 October).

BUCCI HALL: After 40-some years with an exposed concrete block façade the social hall at Saint Rita has acquired a "finished" appearance. I trust the parishioners (and the rest of the community) will find this a MOST agreeable improvement. I HAVE heard that there are some (I'm sure a very SMALL number) bellyaching that "Fr. Bob is spending all THEIR money." To set the record straight (which MY stubbornness impels me to do even though I KNOW that "haters gonna hate") the exterior of the social hall was one of the projects for which the diocesan capital campaign (Today's Challenge-Tomorrow's Hope) funds were designated. About 45K was sitting in our bank account EARMARKED (before my time here) for THIS project. Yes, we spent a little more than that but MOST of the funds came from the TCTH campaign.

Likewise, the new tile floor in the church and the new reflection garden have been funded primarily through donations and memorial gifts. If anyone out there has concerns I would appreciate (and Christian charity would dictate) that the person(s) come DIRECTLY to ME and not spread untruths and half-truths. Although, again "haters gonna hate" and don't really give a darn about THE TRUTH!


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