How to Renovate a Church

First and foremost, pray about the matter, giving thanks in all things with constant supplication. Then, formally dedicate the project to St. Joseph, the patron saint of construction projects.

Then, start asking around.

Church Renovation 2

You do need a cross-section of people from the Parish to ask for advice – a committee even – and some type of approval from your diocese. We actually went about this a bit backward, but it’s all working out very fine.

And because this project is in a historic district, we’re still seeing about the whole tax credit issue.

But, because Abita Springs is a charming but dusty town, the carpet had grown worn. Meanwhile, the pews were literally falling apart, and the paint in the sanctuary was peeling and falling off. The mural above it, beloved by many parishioners, was dimmed with age and tarred with the wax of a million beeswax candles burnt over the years.

So we had to do something before our regularly scheduled feast days and weddings resumed.

Church Renovation 1

Then there was the problem of the linoleum, so popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

  1. It was linoleum.
  2. It was made with asbestos.
  3. It was glued down with a permanent glue directoly onto the wood floor beneath it.
  4. It was linoelum.

Asbestos abatement ensued.

Now because everyone is worried about asbestos all over the church, the asbestos was encapsulated in the linoleum which was able to be pulled up more or less in a sheet. The glue underneath was the real problem. Several contractors have said that you get more asbestos driving down the road in the summer than you would from being anywhere near this asbestos project. I know nothing about it, but the guys working on it didn’t even wear masks and were meticulous about hauling everything off.

Church Renovation 3

All of which led to the discovery of the wood floors and the refinishing of them. They were finished with Loba High Impact Oil , and we’ve started moving things back in.

There’s still the new lighting, new sound system, the back of the altar, the ambo restyling, painting the baseboards, reworking the side statues and the baptistry, the outside awnings, the front steps, the tiled marble entryways, the the a/c systems; the work over at St. Joseph Hall which needs a new roof, new ceilings, paint; St. Jane Hall which needs a new kitchen and preferably just be razed and rebuilt from the ground up, the repainting of the interior of the Barre Center and the replacement of it’s 16 yo a/c’s which are designed to last between 15-20 years and thankfully we can prioritize.

At least we have the time to do it.

St. Joseph, St. Jane, St. Micahel, ora pro nobis.



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