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  • Last modified 76 days ago (Dec. 17, 2020)

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Church restored for Christmas

Staff writer

The ceiling and balcony of St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church is being repaired and its communion rails restored just in time for Christmas.

The church’s parishioners cannot wait to see the results of the remodel after years of patience, said volunteer Harriet Bina.

The needed repairs created an opportunity to truly restore the church, she said.

“We like it to look much like it originally did,” Bina said. “And so when they were bringing these men out for repairs, they decided to go ahead and do the altar rails.”

Don Wendt, owner of Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons, a church restoration company based in Greenwood, Missouri, said his goal is to have the rails match the build of the church’s altar.

The communion rails will be sanded, primed twice, and painted to match. Then he will marbleize the columns and paint gold on the trim. The project will cost $2,950, he said.

“With any luck we should have it done this weekend,” he said.

Wendt was happy to restore a church’s beautiful original artwork. Many churches were simplified after Vatican II, he said.

“I think there is more of an awareness now to bring a lot of those things back and preserve and restore them,” he said.

St. John already is looking much better after Wendt and his team repainted a ceiling stained by a leak in its roof, Bina said.

“We are happy, because a lot of the tourists that come here, the first question from the kids was, ‘What’s that up there,’ ” Bina said, adding that Wendt did a beautiful job.

“We were good enough to match the paint,” he said. “Every church is different. Some churches, after 20 years you get a lot of soot from the furnace. Or if you’re using a low quality candle you get more smoke. This church is pretty clean.”

Repairs to St. John’s balcony were more complicated because of the cracks in the plaster, he said.

Wendt couldn’t give a cost estimate for the project, because it and the roof were bid separately, but said the work “was pretty extensive.”

“It’s a situation that is pretty common when you have a choir loft with a big bell tower or steeple,” he said. “You do get a bit of sway with high winds — and what happens is between the wall and the ceiling you get some separation.”

Plaster doesn’t give, it tends to crack but the damage is all repairable, he said.

Last modified Dec. 17, 2020

 

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