WILMINGTON —The first Sunday of Advent at St. Patrick Church in Wilmington on Dec. 1 had a touch of Easter rebirth when Bishop Malooly rededicated its brightly renovated sanctuary and nave.
Most of the work was done in October, said Father Leonard Klein, the parish’s administrator.
“It was basically an interior refurbishing,” Father Klein said.
“We installed new flooring, a new ceiling, paint job, a new sound system. We put in an altar rail because we have the Latin Mass. And we reoriented the pews to face eastward, to face the altar.”
Pews in front of the church that had faced each other around a platform were part of the renovated seating.
Also, “we removed a couple of pews from the back, to get a little more elbow room,” Father Klein said. “And we did a little rebuilding of the organ. The keys were chipped and worn. To replace them, the electronics inside of the console were also updated.”
The renovations, without the organ repair, cost about $150,000, Father Klein said. The organ work was $34,000.
St. Patrick’s coordinated its refurbishing with the diocesan Sustaining Hope for the Future capital campaign.
“The parish is blessed to have some reserves,” Father Klein said. “We used those to make the payment. We hope from the campaign to restore about a third of what the cost was. We also received a few contributions directly for the renovations.”
Father Klein credited Beverly Thomes of Contract Environments in Wilmington with the look and details of the newly painted church interior. Its previous stark white color was replaced with a yellow and cream color scheme. The general contractor was Don Burawski of St. Joe’s Building Corporation in Wilmington.
An artist, Mary Hain, has repainted the Sacred Heart and St. Patrick statues. Two members of the parish’s regular Latin Mass community, Christina Holdnack and Katrina Biter, have also restored the church’s Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. Therese and St. Anthony statues.
Father Klein said St. Patrick’s gets about 90 to 100 people each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. for its Latin Mass, part of more than 320 people who attend the historic church at 15th and King streets each weekend.
Father Klein said he’s heard a lot of “wows” from parishioners since they first saw the remade interior of the church in November.
The administrator is happy the project increased “the life and integrity of the building,” made it more useful for parishioners and “got it into shape for the future.”
St. Patrick’s former convent, on French and 14th, has been deeded to the Ministry of Caring to serve as its future headquarters.
“By June we will have a center of Catholic services and worship here on the East Side,” Father Klein said.