“Unless the Lord builds the house, in vain do the builders labor.” Psalm 127:1 When we originally started the Cornerstone Project in 2010, it was to renew and revitalize our parish. Although we did not expect the road that was placed before us, we can look on this path as both an opportunity for renewal and also as an opportunity to give the same gift that our ancestors in faith gave to us: a home for our parish for future generations. Given the history of St. Michael’s and the strength of the faith of this community, all of this is possible if we all work together toward this common goal, and if we are willing to make the sacrifices necessary for our dream to become a reality.
We want to keep everyone informed through every stage of the process, and thank everyone for their patience. We are taking such care in our decisions because we realize this will not only be our church, but the church for future generations here in Pawcatuck.
THE LATEST UPDATES
THE TRUSS OVER THE SANCTUARY IS GRACED WITH A PASSAGE FROM PSALM 84
Written on the truss which soars over the entrance of the Sanctuary of the reconstructed St. Michael Church:
Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, domine virtutum!
Concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria Domini;
Beati qui habitant in domo tua, Domine;
In saecula saeculorum laudabunt te.
The entire passage reads:
Lord of hosts, how I love they dwelling-place!
For the courts of the Lord’s house,
my soul faints with longing;
The living God! at his name my heart,
my whole being thrills with joy.
Where else should the sparrow find a home,
the swallow a nest for her brood,
but at thy altar, Lord of hosts,
my king and my God?
How blessed, Lord, are those who dwell in thy house!
They will be ever praising thee.
Check the parish social media pages often for photos of the reconstruction progress, pictures and videos are posted regularly!
Here is a link to a video posted by GNCB Consulting Engineers of the raising of the first truss.
Here is a link to a time lapse video of the raising of the entire truss structure by Vermont Timber Works!
A BLESSING ON OUR HEAVY TIMBER TRUSSES
In the weeks before the Blessing and Raising of the Trusses Ceremony, parishioners from St. Michael, St. Mary and St. Thomas More, along with friends from the local community, gathered to become a part of parish history and to sign their names in silver permanent marker on the dark wood. On the day of the ceremony, Bishop Cote blessed the trusses and called for God’s abundant blessings on our parish and this endeavor: O God, you commanded Noah to build an ark of wood in order that creation might be renewed. Made of wood, the Ark of the Covenant became your dwelling place among the people of Israel. Through the wood of the cross, your Son redeemed the world. Bless these timbers, we pray, O Lord, which you have given to us from the earth, and have been shaped by the hands of skilled craftsmen. As we now use these trusses to hold together this, your dwelling among your people, enable us to grow into the temple of your glory, so that, shaped anew by your grace, we may be gathered into your dwelling place in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
PROJECT MANAGER AND ARCHITECTS St. Michael is working with construction management firm Petra Construction Corp. (www.petraconstruction.com), of New Haven, CT, to facilitate the renovation. Petra is an award-winning building construction firm with substantial experience on projects throughout New England. The firm is helping us plan, coordinate, budget, supervise and manage the construction, and will be responsible for bringing the project to a successful completion. John Brice and Barbara Geddis of Geddis Architects are working with St. Michael Parish on the project. Geddis (www.geddisarchitects.com) of Southport, CT, is an award-winning studio which has done extensive work throughout southern New England. They are very experienced in timber frame design and have partnered on many projects with Vermont Timber Works (www.vermonttimberworks.com), the company which is supplying the truss system for the renovation.
ORIGINAL DECORATION OF THE CHURCH UNCOVERED
Along with structural integrity and efficiency being key factors in the renovation, one of the goals of the St. Michael project is restoration with an eye to the beautiful designs and finishes that graced the church in the past.
John Canning of John Canning & Co., www.johncanning co.com, a family-owned business based in Cheshire, CT, is an expert in architectural and historically-faithful decorative finishes for building restoration and period interiors. John visited St. Michael’s to begin investigation into the interior colors and decorations of the church. He believes that what he uncovered on the walls is the original decoration for the church, and he will be able to help the parish incorporate these designs into the renovated church!
RESTORATION OF STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
St. Michael’s historic stained glass windows have been carefully packed and sent to Bovard Studio, www.bovardstudios.com, a restoration studio in Iowa! The windows will be set in new aluminum thermal barrier frames which are designed to hold both the stained glass and energy-efficient insulated glass. Each window will have a ventilation system designed specially for the conservation of the stained glass.
During pre-construction work on the church, some sections of the church were removed to uncover the construction details underneath. The information will aid in the new design of the church, and also in the preservation of details from the church’s past.
Some of the pre-construction work resulted in the discovery of some treasures from our past!
- 1924 pamphlet entitled Preventing Diphtheria was found in the floor of the church during reinforcement.
- An amazing ticket for an Ice Cream Social to benefit the St. Michael Total Abstinence & Benevolent Society–from October 16, 1895–was found in the crawl space under the oldest section of the church! The T.A.B. Society, more commonly known as the St. Michael Temperance Society, encouraged abstinence from the consumption of alcohol and provided support for the needy of the parish.
- Small shards of stained glass were found in the crawl space under the church that appear to have come from windows that were once in front of the church.
- Tile was uncovered when the carpet in the nave was removed.
- The relics of St. Sebastian and St. Martial were removed from the altar in preparation for the reconstruction.
- Discovered in the church cornerstone–a bottle from J. Harvey & Co. Canal Street in Providence, RI, that was in business around 1857.
- An old J. H. Cutter Old Rye bottle found in the basement, a brand of C.P. Moorman’s Co. of Louisville, KY, which was in business from 1866 to 1919.
- Remains of an old prayer book found while excavating the basement.
- Found while excavating the crawl space, a bottle manufactured by the Liberty Club Mineral Water Co. of Providence and produced from approximately 1936 until 1955.
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN The campaign is going strong! If you have already made your pledge, thank you for your generosity! If you did not receive your campaign materials in the mail, please contact the rectory office at (860) 599-5580. All gifts, from the smallest to the largest, are needed and gratefully appreciated! YOU CAN ALSO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN ONLINE–JUST CLICK HERE!
SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES There are also some wonderful sponsorship opportunities available to support the reconstruction project–JUST CLICK HERE!
CORNERSTONE PROJECT BUILDING TEAM
- Dottie Carrier
- Beth Freeman
- Dennis Fritz
- Rob Holland
- Peter Manning
- Doris Messina
- Kevin Oliveira
- Charles Shea
- Joan Sienkiewicz
- Sandy Whewell