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Mallard St. Mary’s remodels church sanctuary

By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
(Email Renee)

MALLARD – Persistent peeling paint was the prompter for a remodeling project focused on the sanctuary at St. Mary Church this spring.

Father Tom Hart, pastor, said through the years, they tried to repaint it but in certain areas it was to no avail.
“You get that sometimes where plaster just won’t hold paint,” he said.

Father Hart explained church decorators out of Cresco, Iowa, placed a fiberglass mesh over all of the walls to fix the plaster problem.

“When put on the walls and painted over, it makes the walls look like new and will then always hold paint and not crack,” he said. “You will never see cracks in your plaster again.”

Decorative religious symbols were stenciled on walls on each side of the high altar and a stencil of the Holy Spirit was added to the ceiling. The walls in the front of the church behind the Mary and Joseph statue were also painted and in some areas gold-leaf accents were added.

“We wanted to make it a little more ornate to better reflect the sacredness of the church in the sanctuary area and around the tabernacle,” Father Hart said.

Since they were already working on the paint, the parish opted to include other projects in the remodel.

The brass tabernacle was re-polished at Koley’s in Omaha, and the cost was donated in memory of Dennis Schumacher, a recently-deceased parish director.

For safety purposes, they eliminated a step right behind the altar.

“I’ve had priests when they were concelebrating, fall off of the step, not knowing that the step was there,” Father Hart said. “We eliminated the step by making the floor in the sanctuary, around the altar, all one level. That eliminates the fall hazard.”

When the old carpet in the sanctuary was pulled up, they discovered the floor was polished marble and terrazzo. Matching polished tile was selected for the new platform floor.

“The rest of the church floor, we discovered was also terrazzo, so we eliminated the old carpet from the center aisle and restored the terrazzo which was green with rose-colored edges,” Father Hart said. “Once it was restored and waxed, it really looks beautiful.”

A final phase of the project was improving lighting above the crucifix, tabernacle and side altars featuring statues of Mary and Joseph.

Cost of the overall project was $37,000. Beside the memorial gift, costs were covered by parishioner and vendor donations as well as parish general funds. The pastor pointed out that the finance committee of St. Mary’s was instrumental in helping with the project, such as selected color schemes and so forth.

“It really enhances the sacredness of the church and the holiness of it, reflecting the glory of God,” said Father Hart, who noted they have received many positive comments about the project. “The greatest joy is having a beautiful church, a prayerful church, a church that turns your thoughts and heart to God.”


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