22 July 2020
Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene
I am happy to announce Bishop Brennan has approved Phase 1 of the project to repair the roof of our beloved Saint Thomas Aquinas Church. Phase 1 of the project is called the “Shoring Up Phase”. During this phase of the project, portable shoring towers will be located within the church to stabilize the roofing infrastructure and prevent any additional damage.
You may remember the church roof was condemned by local authorities on Ash Wednesday after the structural engineering analysis reported significant deterioration of the 178-year-old trusses supporting the roof of the church. Just 19 days later all public celebrations of Masses were suspended and the doors to churches were closed due to the spreading Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses, including construction companies and other building firms suspended their work, as well.
Through these ensuing four and a half months we have been laboring hard to put in place a plan to repair the trusses and provide new stability for the roof, as well as patch cracked plaster, repaint effected areas, repair disintegrating masonry on the clock tower and replace the clock dials and mechanism which allows the church bell to ring, calling us to prayer.
We have removed the acoustic tile ceiling in Rosary Hall and the underlying pressed tin ceiling. Finding asbestos insulation underneath the old tin ceiling, a company was hired to abate the asbestos. This work has been successfully completed since May. Our building engineering plans have been finalized, reviewed by the local building commission and approved. Special thanks to Mike Morris for all he has done to get us to this moment. His expertise and enthusiasm for our parish has been invaluable in this process.
The cost of Phase 1 of the project is significant and I want to share that cost with you. We have received a proposal for Phase 1 with a “not to exceed” cost of $276,963. That proposal has been accepted and work will begin very soon.
Phase 2 is the actual truss repair of the project.
Phase 3 consists of repair of cracked and damaged plaster, repainting in effected areas and the re-installation of pews, ambo, altar and other liturgical furnishings.
In order to achieve approval for the next phase of the repair project, Bishop Brennan will soon initiate discussion with the priests of the area to put in place a vision and long range plan, in conjunction with Saint Nicholas, Saint Ann and Saint Mary, that considers all strategic issues for the Catholic Community of Muskingum County over the next 10 to 20 years. Once that is completed, decisions can be made on how further resources are used at Saint Thomas.
The Catholic Church faces many challenges including:
Just to name a few.
The overall Saint Thomas Aquinas Roof Repair Project is a very big undertaking and the estimated total cost of all three phases is estimated not to exceed $1.7 million. That is a lot of money– to be raised over several years’ time—which, if approved, will require generous participation by us all.
Because of the past generosity of several individuals, now gone to their eternal reward, work can begin on Phase 1 of the project immediately. As we go forward, these funds will have to be replenished in our parish resources so Saint Thomas Aquinas Church can continue to provide spiritual support and ministry into the future.
Your love for and dedication to our venerable parish has been manifested to me time after time in the very short period I have been among you in Zanesville. Together we can do this, so that Saint Thomas Aquinas Church and the Catholic Community of Muskingum County can continue to serve the spiritual needs of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the greater community of Zanesville for many years to come.
Trusting in God’s Providence, with faith and confidence in Jesus and His Holy Mother, supported by the intercession of Saint Patrick and Saint Thomas Aquinas, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Reverend JCP Sullivan