Fall Restoration Update
The time of restoration of our beautiful and venerable Church is nearing! As you are aware, there has been much said and much work done on preparing for this necessary work, repairing many damaged areas and providing a much needed facelift in general.
This weekend, I preached at all of the Masses and updated everyone on where we stand. As stated in the letter you received back in May, the majority of the work to be done will be accomplished in January-February, and March of 2020. How quickly that time will be here!
The Parish Pastoral Council and the Parish Finance Council have been kept up to date as to developments and progress along the way. By way of bulletin announcements, and some references during Masses, as well as speaking with many of you after Masses, during meetings, and even while passing on the street, we have discussed various aspects of the project. The pews were the first to be refinished, completed in July, many favorable comments were made.
Next, perhaps this fall will be new flooring under the pews as well as installation of a new sound system. As mentioned from the start, "20/20" will be about much more than restoration of the Church. Soon I will be announcing some important initiatives into Ongoing Faith Formation and serious efforts at outreach to those in our parish and community inviting them to return or join us!
For the full update 2020 Fall Update
I am very happy to be approaching my 2nd Anniversary of being the Pastor of the linked Parishes of St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph Marello Parishes.
These long standing parishes and their dedicated generations of members, present a rich legacy of faith that has stood as a witness not only above the landscape of the greater Pittston area, but also within its streets, serving as vibrant faith communities within the community we call home.
Pittston has undergone many positive changes in recent years and provides a place of pride and life, in which our lives revolve each day. The parishes of St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph Marello, bring a rich mix of tradition, faith, and service to the community as well. We look to the needs of all, and meet them, as the Gospel mandate commands.
St. Joseph Marello recently embarked on a capital campaign to enable to parish to eliminate the debt the resulted from the construction of the beautiful parish center 14 years ago. This campaign will also make available funds to provide needed improvements and maintenance to the Church and hall that realistically comes with time and age.
Now it is time to turn our attention to the unbelievable Church constructed 166 years ago, the dream of Fr. John Loughran to provide a much needed worship space in the center of Pittston. The current Church, dedicated in 1893 has inspired hundreds of thousands over the years with reverence and awe. Several revisions, restorations, and loving care have taken place over the years but now many areas of the Church that is beloved by so many are showing signs of age. These areas have been brought to my attention by many in our parish and I believe that “now is the acceptable time” to address them and bring St. John the Evangelist Church into the full glory and beauty that was envisioned by Fr and so many who came after him. Within this letter, you will find a working list of the improvements we hope to make over the next 10 months.
These improvements and general restoration will cost approx.. $500,000. It has been 36 years since any work of any substance has been done in the Church.
Our Capital Campaign, “20/20: Bringing our Faith Into Focus” has many aspects, not the least of which is a major evangelization effort aimed at informing many in our area, and even many who may belong to St. John the Evangelist but have not attended lately to come back to us!
One major aspect will be this important restoration. We hope to raise the funds we need to complete this project during the months of May-June-July-August of 2019. Work will hopefully begin after final Diocesan Approval in phases beginning this Fall.
This Campaign calls for support from the entire community. With your help. We can continue to build on a rich past and provide an incredible, place for our parishioners, young people, and future generations to worship in what is truly one of the most vivid examples of architectural and artistic achievement in our area.
- Clean and restore the existing, priceless artwork in the Church. Repair all areas of cracked, peeling plaster throughout the Church. Repainting of all flat surfaces. Reguild the many gold-leaf areas of the Church.
- Varnishing the wood surrounding the balcony and repainting the small panels in between the columns.
- Replacement of the sound system. The current system has been repaired and patched many times over the years. All wireless equipment has to be updated due to new FCC standards.
- Restoration of our magnificent, nearly 100 year old Kilgen Pipe Organ. The handout in the bulletin recently outlines the amazing history of this instrument and what work needs to be done to ensure that it will continue to serve our faith community for many generations to come.
- Installation of a fire alarm system.
- Refurbish the beautiful solid wood doors at the main entrance.
- Replacement of the flooring under the pews and on stairways leading to the balcony and in existing stairwells.
- Refurbishment of the existing pews.
- Re-styling and placement of the existing Baptismal font.
- Repair, cleaning, and polishing the marble floor in the sanctuary.
- Enhance current lighting and clean/refurbish existing lighting fixtures.
- Cleaning and polishing the existing Main Altar, two side altars, and the Altar of Sacrifice.
- Installation of a accessibility ramp to the sanctuary for celebrants, ministers, and lectors.
- Eventual placement of Memorial and plaque acknowledging donors to this restoration.
- Replace the Presider’s chair and Deacon’s Chair. (fashioned by the same person who built the chair for Pope Benedict and Pope Francis when they visited the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He is also a friend of Fr. Joseph Elston)