Conservation and Restoration Works
As you are aware we will mark the centenary of this church next year. As I mentioned to you some months ago conservation and restoration work needs to be carried out on the main window over the altar here and also the toilet facilities in the sacristy need to be seriously upgraded with some renovation also needing to be carried out on the sacristy itself. The fire alarm system has to be upgraded to comply fully with insurance demands on a listed building.
The Parish Finance Committee over the last few months have been working away on these projects under the guidance of Michael Horan of Axo Architects in Castlebar and in close consultation with Siobhan Sexton, Heritage Officer with Mayo County Council. Because the building is listed we have to adhere to the stipulations of the Heritage Officer.
Today I have a mixture of good and bad news. Three companies were asked to tender for the work on the window and the reports that they gave us were very varied- you could say totally opposed to each other. The good news is that the window does not have to be taken out. The conservation and restoration work can be done on site over a period of about seven weeks (depending on the weather) about three weeks inside and four weeks outside. We have also been able to secure a saving on the cost of the window works. It will now cost €45,000. Still a substantial sum of money but considerably less than we had feared. The work will start in the next 10 days or so.
As you can see in the newsletter we are now starting the tendering process for the essential works in the sacristy and toilets. For those of you not familiar with the sacristy there is only one very small toilet with very basic facilities and at the time of weddings and funerals you can have people queuing up out the yard or indeed coming over to my house to use toilets. The sacristy itself needs some decorating and electrical works carried out.
I had mentioned that work to you when I spoke a few months ago but unfortunately we have received some bad news about the building itself. When the company that will be carrying out the work on the window Aria Stained Glass from Galway were surveying the window they noticed that water was getting into the gable through cracks in the pointing. After consulting with the Heritage Officer we had the entire building investigated by a qualified person and we have been told that the same thing is happening all around the church and that the only remedy is to re-point the entire structure.
As the conservation and renovation work begins on the altar window we pray that all will go well with this phase of the work. It will take about three weeks internally and then the work will move outside. It is at this stage that work on the pointing of the gable will begin.
Homily by Fr. Denis
on Sunday February 19th 2017
2018 marks the centenary of St. Cronan’s Church. Over the coming months both the Pastoral Council and Finance Committee will discuss how best the centenary can be celebrated. Today I would like to invite the views of you and all parishioners on that. If you have any suggestions on how we might mark the centenary please contact me and I will bring it to the discussions.
Everyone agrees that St. Cronan’s is a beautiful church building. It was built in very difficult times. It started in 1913 and was dedicated in May 1918. At that time the First World War was taking place. Yet despite the difficulties of the time when money was scarce the people of the time spared no effort in building a very fine church which 100 years later we can be proud of.
Some years ago when renovations were being planned the Architect asked me what I would like to do. I told him that I would like to honour those who put it here. I would like to do that again next year as well as celebrating the faith that has been witnessed to in this building for the last 100 years and which please God will continue to be celebrated here for many years to come. I would also like to see the centenary celebration as an inclusive community event.
As regards the building itself some work needs to be carried out on it. The priority is the conservation of the beautiful window over the Mass altar that depicts the Crucifixion scene. The window now urgently needs attention and at the moment some companies who specialise in stained glass work are engaged in a tendering process. While I do not have exact figures I would expect it to be anything up to €80,000. It is very specialised and detailed work that will take a number of months. Some works on upgrading the toilet facilities also needs to take place. That means money has to be spent and while we have money in the account we will need to do some fundraising. Over the last 30 years very few demands have been made for funding for the church. It is a topic I do not like discussing but at this time I have to. Fundraising will have to take place over the coming year but it will not be major. I would hope that most people within the parish community will respond in a positive manner.
While not everyone comes to Mass virtually every family in the parish uses the church at some time or other for a Baptism, a First Communion, a Confirmation, a Marriage or a family Funeral.An appeal will be made to all, seeking help and please God many will contribute Also some families might like to make a particular donation and that too would be most welcome.
At this time the new boxes of envelopes for the coming year go out. I would like to thank those who deliver them. I thank all of you who contribute week in and week out towards the upkeep of the church. It is your continued support coupled with so much voluntary work that keeps our heads above water. If any of you are in a position to put a little extra into your envelope it would be of enormous help. Every euro adds up. I would also like to mention that I have a weekly envelope myself. I do not say that as self praise . I have a weekly income and therefore have a responsibility to do my bit in the same way as everyone else.
We have a church that we can be very proud of. I have every confidence that this community will respond to its needs at this time and over the coming months as plans for the renovations and the centenary develops I will keep you informed and if anyone would like to help in any way or make any suggestions please contact me.
We had beautiful ceremonies in the parish to mark the Easter Triduum during Holy Week and the Mass of the Resurrection on Sunday.
Our altar in St Cronan’s looks really well.
Sincere Thanks to Fr Denis and all who helped out during the ceremonies.
Thanks to our sacristan Helen and to Judi in @ballaflorists for the photos!